A builders risk claim denied by Travelers insurance company following a September 2018 fire in Birmingham, Alabama, resulted in a verdict totaling over $27 million last week.1 The case scenario is not that different from many smoke, soot, and ash claims. The insurance company took months to investigate the claim and hired its typical set of experts who claimed that most of the smoke particulates were not present, did not cause physical damage, and that Travelers policyholder suffering the fire claim was exaggerating the loss. The only slight difference was an ongoing water loss caused from holes allegedly caused by the fire allowing rainwater to permeate the building. Travelers claimed that the policyholder failed to mitigate those water losses, but it lost that argument as well.

Continue Reading Travelers Guilty of Bad Faith and Loses $27 Million Verdict Over Smoke, Soot, and Ash Dispute

Bob Norton of the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association (IAUA) loves to play with the audience with the types of questions found in the title of this post. Bob will ask for a show of hands about how many say “yes” or “no.” Then pause and ask, how many say the answer is “it depends.” Then he will ask the people who raised their hands, saying, “It depends,” why they gave that answer. It is a fun and effective learning exercise for many issues which arise during appraisals. 

Continue Reading Is Appraisal Limited to a Dispute About the Value of Agreed Damage? What Is the Rule In Alabama?

Anybody who joined me for our Hurricane Ida webinar yesterday could tell that Steve Mullins is an aggressive and experienced property insurance advocate. Steve was born in New Orleans and is the eldest son of Louisiana parents. Steve grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Ocean Springs. He is a proud graduate of Ocean Springs High School, where he was active in football, student government, and all sorts of fun that is available when you live along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I know about those fun things because I lived in Waveland, Mississippi, for three of my best formative years.
Continue Reading Steve Mullins With Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama Ties Joins Merlin Law Group

In Part 1 of this series, I addressed general requirements for the insurance carrier’s adjustment of claims. Here, I want to focus on communications between the policyholder and the insurance carrier.
Continue Reading Delayed Insurance Claim Payment in Alabama? Insurance Companies Must Timely Respond To Alabama Policyholders

Is your hurricane claim being adjusted promptly, fairly, and equitably? I’ve heard many stories of policyholders that have still not seen an adjuster following Hurricane Sally, and Hurricane Zeta just brought more winds and rain to already damaged properties. It’s important to know the requirements Alabama insurance companies have for the adjustment of your hurricane claim.
Continue Reading Understanding Alabama Insurance Claims Standards—Is the Insurance Company Following Alabama Code?

Americans hate to be told that we cannot do something. I think it is just in our DNA. Since the time we are little, we are taught to “never let somebody tell you that you cannot…..” Name the dream you want to accomplish because, in America, you can do it.
Continue Reading Adjusting and The Unauthorized Practice of Law—Thoughts About What Public Adjusters Can Do in Alabama

Brian Goodman is the very able General Counsel for the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. He also worked tirelessly to get public adjusting licensed in Alabama. He has properly corrected me that public adjusting is not “illegal” in Alabama. Mark the time, I am making a correction to this morning’s blog.
Continue Reading Stop the Presses and Mark the Time—Chip Merlin, The Wizard of Something, May Be Wrong!!!