Drew Houghton heads up Merlin Law Group operations in our Oklahoma City office. I was speaking with him just before our holiday party about the American Policyholder Association combating fraudulent engineering reports harming policyholders as noted in, American Policyholder Association Makes Resonating Comments About Insurance Fraud Against Policyholders. Drew then told me about a recently filed Oklahoma class action where engineers were accused of sham reports to help prevent earthquake claims payments.
Continue Reading Engineers Accused of Sham Reports in Class Action

I discussed the Lon Smith Roofing class action case against a contractor accused of practicing public adjusting in, Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting and the Lon Smith Roofing Case Should Scare Contractors and Roofers with Contingent Contracts. An appellate court reaffirmed the dangers contractors face when negotiating claims and benefits with insurance companies and contracting to do what many consider either the unauthorized practice of law or the unauthorized practice of public adjusting.
Continue Reading Contractors Need to Use Carefully Drafted Contracts and Not Practice Public Adjusting

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. It is listed as the 35th largest company in the Fortune 500. Big companies sometimes have big problems. State Farm had a one billion dollar judgement problem that now may be a seven billion dollar problem.

Continue Reading Did State Farm Buy Its Way Out of a Billion Dollar Judgment?

A recently filed proposed class action1 accusing California health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross of using a "bait and switch" scheme that offered insurance policy "renewals" that did not clearly disclose major policy changes offers a great example of why the law requires insurers to notify insureds of reductions in insurance coverage.


Continue Reading Class Action Highlights Notification Requirements When Insurers Seek to Reduce Coverage Associated with “Renewals”

Merlin Law Group filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court today alleging that sales tax was not being paid to many Superstorm Sandy policyholders with flood insurance claims insured by Selective Insurance. Some must be wondering that if policyholders cannot trust insurance company engineering reports, why should they trust that the estimates of damage made by the insurance companies own estimators?


Continue Reading Sales Tax Missing From Sandy Claims Estimates Leads to Class Action Lawsuit

When a borrower fails to obtain or maintain proper hazard, flood, or wind/hail insurance on property that secures a loan, the lender remains authorized to “force place insurance” on the property in order to protect the lender’s interest in the property. Sounds reasonable… right? On its face, it makes sense that lending institutions should have the right to make sure property securing a loan maintain adequate insurance in the event of a natural disaster or other hazard that property owners encounter.

Like so many issues with both high finance and insurance carriers, though, one can’t necessarily take force placed insurance at face value. In this initial installment of the Force Placed Insurance Series, I’ll take a closer look at issues surrounding force placed insurance.


Continue Reading Are Lenders Properly Protecting Themselves and Property Owners When Property Insurance Lapses? – Force Placed Insurance Series

In a recent conference on Class Actions and Aggregate Litigation,1 a recent trend in Class Actions was discussed that could have a significant affect on the property damage insurance claims handling industry:

(i) “Private regulatory actions” – i.e., mass lawsuits based on a private right of action that challenge conduct not widely recognized as being wrong. This category would include many current class actions in the United States, such as those involving alleged deceptive trade practices.2


Continue Reading Paths to Mass Justice: “Private Regulatory Actions” to Enforce Policyholder Rights – Aggregate Litigation Series