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Matching Endorsement Upheld as Modifying Policy to Exclude Coverage for Undamaged Material

The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals in Noonan v. American Family Mutual Insurance,1 recently upheld that the Minnesota Amendatory Homeowners Endorsement (“Endorsement”) excludes “matching.” The Endorsement provides that an insurer does “not pay to repair or replace undamaged property due to mismatch between damaged material and new material used to repair or replace damaged material.”… Continue Reading

Broken Water Main Damage: Flood or Not Flood Under Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

In a recent court opinion,1 the New Jersey Appellate Division interpreted a homeowner’s insurance policy’s water damage exclusion and determined whether damage from a broken municipal water main under a public street was covered under the policy. In that case, a homeowner brought an action against his insurer for breach of contract after the insurer … Continue Reading

Much Needed Clarification of Appraiser Qualifications in Florida

The appraisal alternative dispute resolution procedure in most first-party property insurance policies in Florida is a valuable process for insureds. In our experience at Merlin Law Group, few states in the country have a greater need for an understandable, enforceable appraisal process than Florida. Since at least Hurricane Andrew in 1992, policyholders and insurers have … Continue Reading

Follow-Up: My Insurance Claim Was Denied Because My Water Leak Lasted Over a Period of 14 Days or More – Was the Denial Proper?

In March, I posted a blog on the Hicks v. American Integrity Insurance Company opinion,1 in which a Florida court ruled that policy language stating: “we do not insure…for loss…caused by…constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water…over a period of 14 or more days,” did not preclude coverage for damage caused during the first … Continue Reading

Colorado Supreme Court Clarifies Unreasonable Delay or Denial Statute

The Colorado Supreme Court issued two opinions favorable to Colorado policyholders earlier this week: American Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Barriga; and Rooftop Restoration, Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company. Both cases address the unreasonable delay or denial of insurance benefits statute in Colorado. This post addresses the Barriga opinion, and the Rooftop Restoration, … Continue Reading

The Independent Injury Rule Is Dead!

May 11, 2018, is a day that shall live in infamy for insurance law plaintiff attorneys. On that day, the Fifth Circuit declared the independent injury rule as dead in Aldous, PC v. Darwin National Assurance Company,1 citing the substituted April 13, 2018, Menchaca II opinion.2… Continue Reading

Policy Exclusions Must Be Narrowly Applied to Assure Policyholders Receive All Benefits Available

In a recent post, Policyholders May Benefit From All Their Coverages, I discussed the importance of carefully evaluating all the insurance benefits potentially available to policyholders if a catastrophic loss occurs. That blog examined the decision in Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Hamilton,1 which allowed recovery of benefits for a total loss due to flood … Continue Reading

An Unlucky Day? Friday, April 13, 2018, the Texas Supreme Court Issued a New Opinion in USAA Texas Lloyds v. Menchaca

On Friday, April 13, 2018, by avoiding black cats, ladders, and breaking mirrors, seven members of the Texas Supreme Court1 managed to issue a new, sixty-six page opinion in USAA Texas Lloyds Company v. Menchaca (“Menchaca II”).2 Withdrawing its April 7, 2017, opinion3 —”Menchaca I”—the court unanimously reaffirmed the five legal principles and rules announced … Continue Reading

Better Late Than Never? Don’t Think So – Voluntary, Untimely Payment of Benefits Does Not Absolve Carrier from Liability for Bad Faith in Florida

It has been over 30 years since Florida lawmakers enacted section 624.155, which was designed to provide a civil remedy when an insurer fails to settle their policyholder’s claim in good faith or commits any one of the unfair claims handling practices identified in section 626.9541(1)(i). Yet, to this day, questions still arise on one … Continue Reading

Nearly Ten Years Later, Hurricane Ike’s Stormy Winds Are Still Churning in the Texas Supreme Court — USAA Tex. Lloyds V. Menchaca

On April 7, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court in USAA Tex. Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca,1 answered several issues that had continually swirled around litigation arising out of Hurricane Ike policy disputes. Unresolved issues included among others: Whether an insured is required to obtain a breach of contract finding as a prerequisite to a recovery for … Continue Reading

My Insurance Claim Was Denied Because My Water Leak Lasted Over a Period of 14 Days or More – Was the Denial Proper?

Many property insurance policies have a provision that states something similar to the following: “we do not insure…for loss…caused by…constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water…over a period of 14 or more days.” Insureds may find their claims for water loss under their homeowners’ policy denied on the grounds that the leak was present … Continue Reading

Policyholder Attorneys Beware: Make Sure Your Contingency Fee Multiplier Awards Are Airtight and “Anderson” Proof

Back on November 7 of last year (2017), I wrote about an important opinion in the world of property insurance litigation, Joyce v. Federated National Insurance Company,1 where the Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed that you could still obtain a contingency-fee multiplier where justified under Quanstrom and in so doing reversed the Fifth District Court of … Continue Reading

The Importance of Promptly Providing Notice of Loss

Most property insurance policies require that the insured must provide “prompt” notice of a loss as soon as possible after a covered loss. While many states throughout the country have adopted the Notice-Prejudice Rule which prevents an insurer from denying a claim unless it can demonstrate actual prejudice resulting from the delayed notice of loss, … Continue Reading

Court Rejects Jury Instruction Inconsistent with Concurrent Causation Doctrine; Remands for New Trial

In December of 2016, I wrote about Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company,1 where the Florida Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s adoption of the “Proximate Efficient Cause” doctrine and found that instead, the lower court should have applied the “Concurrent Causation Doctrine,” as laid out in Wallach v. Rosenberg,2 in a situation where both … Continue Reading

Court Reaffirms on Contingency Fee Multipliers in Joyce v. Federated National

William and Judith Joyce filed a claim with their insurer, Federated National, after suffering water damage to their home. Instead of agreeing to cover the loss, Federated National denied the Joyces’ claim alleging they made material misrepresentations on their insurance application by failing to disclose prior losses they had with their previous carrier.… Continue Reading

An Insurer’s Obligation to Match: Comparable Materials and Quality

Policyholders purchase property insurance and pay lofty premiums with the intention of their insured property being restored to where it was prior to a loss. But what happens when the loss affects only a portion of the siding or has destroyed only a handful of discontinued roofing tiles? Is the policyholder forced to accept mismatching … Continue Reading

Can an Insured Recover from Their Insurance Broker If the Broker Fails to Obtain the Coverage Requested, or Misrepresents Coverage?

If an insurance broker fails to obtain the insurance coverage requested or misrepresents the scope or extent of coverage, does an insured have a claim against the broker when the insurance they expected to cover their loss does not as a result of the broker’s negligence?… Continue Reading
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