Laws impacting policyholders is something Merlin Law Group attorneys are concerned about. We try to be the Policyholder’s Advocate® by our actions and not just pay lip service to it. So, we often travel to meet with legislators and regulators in various states about policyholder rights.

Dan Ballard was in the New Jersey legislature two weeks ago supporting a bad faith bill to help policyholders. I found myself in Tallahassee this Tuesday speaking against a bill which would change the manner attorneys fees are determined by courts. Since a few policyholders will certainly not be able to afford to pay an attorney out of their pocket and find attorneys willing to take their cases based on the change in the law, I spoke against it—but was given a grand total of about 2 minutes to speak! Why have hearings about bills if the public cannot participate?
Continue Reading

The vast majority of my adult professional career has been advocacy for policyholders trying to convince their own insurance companies to pay for claims their customers have made. After hearing countless stories and knowing the various battles fought, a number of my colleagues and friends kept pushing me to write a book on the topic and what I have learned.
Continue Reading

Deception during solicitation and “twisting” in the insurance marketplace is becoming much more common. We see it with television insurance advertising comparing price without honest comparing of coverage. The internet is worse. My recent post, Can Insurance Companies Send Declaration Pages Which Indicate Enhanced Coverage Yet Deliver Diminished Coverage In The Fine Print In The Back of Endorsements? had me thinking about the concept of unfair and deceptive advertising by insurance companies while I was studying the case and writing about the different views of how insurance contract descriptions are made before delivery of the product with differing terms.
Continue Reading

In 2019, Merlin Law Group’s California offices received calls almost daily from insureds who were “dropped” by their homeowners insurance company (i.e., non-renewed). The reason insurers are providing? Unsurprisingly: increasing risks of wildfires. In November 2019, Ricardo Lara, the California Insurance Commissioner, exercised his powers to place a one-year moratorium on cancelling insurance policies related to wildfire risk. Earlier in the month, Lara ordered the FAIR Plan—a quasi-governmental insurer-of-last-resort for people who can’t get insurance elsewhere—to sell the same kind of policies for which Californians once had no problem qualifying.1
Continue Reading

The Mid-Atlantic Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (MAPIA) held a meeting this past week with about thirty-five public adjusters in attendance. President Paul Yemm, yours truly, Holly Soffer, and Tony DiUlio are pictured above. Soffer and Diulio gave a wonderful insurance gaps presentation that was highlighted Tony DiUlio’s discussion of a water loss that resulted in a bad faith verdict against State Farm.
Continue Reading

The person that can qualify as an appraiser for a policyholder in Colorado is still a guess with policyholders not exactly knowing what to do about the selection of their appraiser. One Colorado insurance company law firm has their clients select very biased appraisers against their own customers and then challenges almost all policyholder appraisers as biased. This firm with their clients’ blessings, then tries to have the customer collect nothing arguing that the customer breached the policy by selecting a “biased” appraiser while having a “polecat” selected in the wings as their own appraiser.
Continue Reading

United Policyholders takes action and gets things done for policyholders regarding the insurance gap issue. United Policyholders is tackling the insurance gap coverage problem by providing staff and resources to collect rogue property insurance policy forms being issued by insurance companies, to show examples of how insurers are stepping over each other to silently gain a competitive advantage of lower price with cheap insurance.
Continue Reading

Professor Alan Manning

Insurance protection gaps can be caused by many different things. One is when insurance agents suggest that a policyholder can save money by purchasing insurance to less than full value. Professor Jay Feinman warns about this and calls this the “underinsurance gap.” He defines this as occurring when “the policyholder has coverage, but in an amount that is less than the extent of actual or potential losses.”
Continue Reading