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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

California Supreme Court Affirms California Fair Plan Ass’n v. Garnes, and Preserves Homeowners’ Interests

The California Department of Insurance recently issued a press release announcing that the California Supreme Court affirmed the homeowner reimbursement protections recently decided in California Fair Plan Association v. Garnes.1 Back in June, my colleague Kevin Pollack wrote about the recent decision and whether actual cash value means fair market value or replacement cost minus … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Agrees: Pre-Award Interest on Appraisal Award is Appropriate

I recently wrote about the case of Poehler v. Cincinnait Insurance Company,1 in which the Minnesota Supreme Court recently held that Minnesota Statute section 549.09 provides for pre-interest on insurance appraisal awards. Following this decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Redwood Falls v. Housing Authority Property Insurance,2 similarly … Continue Reading

Appraisers Agreeing Not To Include Issues of Loss May Render Policyholders with No Later Recovery

Appraisals can result in losing propositions for policyholders. I often teach that policyholders need to make certain that they do their best during appraisal and not expect a bad award to get overturned. Policyholders need very hardworking, honest, and knowledgeable persons selected as their appraisers.… Continue Reading

Standard Fire Insurance Policies Still Provide Basic Protections—A Major Victory for Policyholders and Merlin Law Group

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s opinion this week in Streit v. Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company,1 is a major victory for policyholders in Illinois. There, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court judgment entered in favor of my clients, Wesley and Barbara Streit, arising out of Metropolitan’s failure to cover a fire loss to their … Continue Reading

Insurers Cannot Rely on Rescission if They Fail to Inquire and Investigate Insureds Before Claims

After a claim is made, and despite the obligation to objectively, fairly, and reasonably investigate a claim with an eye toward providing coverage and without putting the insurance company’s interests ahead of their insured’s, some insurers actively look for ways to deny coverage. One of the ways some insurers do this is by using the … Continue Reading

Does Actual Cash Value Mean Fair Market Value or Replacement Cost minus Depreciation?

What is an insured, who has an “actual cash value” property insurance policy, entitled to recover when their property is damaged, but not a total loss? Is the insured entitled to the cost to repair/replace the property minus depreciation? Or is the insured’s recovery limited to the property’s fair market value? What if the property’s … Continue Reading

When Must a Negligence Claim Be Brought Against an Illinois Insurance Producer?

Section 13-214.4 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides that “[a]ll causes of action brought by any person or entity under any statute or any legal or equitable theory against an insurance producer1 . . . concerning the sale, placement, procurement, renewal, cancellation of, or failure to procure any policy of insurance shall be … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Post-Loss Assignment of Claims

Larry Bache and I have many cases in Nebraska where we represent a contractor with assignments of insurance claims from homeowners. These assignments were made after a hail loss. The policyholder assigned his rights to the insurance claim to the roofing contractor working on his property. Most insurance policies contain what is called an anti-assignment … Continue Reading

Allstate Voids Policy and is Awarded Damages Due to Policyholder Misrepresentations

On November 22, 2016, Judge Berle M. Schiller from the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued his Opinion and Order in Payne v. Allstate Insurance Company, granting summary judgment to Allstate and awarding them $25,000 in damages, after finding that the Plaintiff made material misrepresentations while securing the homeowners policy.… Continue Reading

State Farm Claims Whistleblowers Win in United States Supreme Court and May Get Additional Evidence of Wrongdoing

The Rigsby sisters have now prevailed in the highest court of the land in their decade long fight against State Farm.1 The Rigsby sisters were catastrophe adjusters working for State Farm on Hurricane Katrina claims. I have noted this case for some time: The Insurance Adjuster’s Dilemma: Tell the Truth and Face the Consequences By … Continue Reading

Bad Faith Finding in NFIP Flood Case

It is the general understanding when one brings a lawsuit on a flood claim under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that the only recovery available to the policyholder is actual damages. The policyholder is not entitled to attorney fees or bad faith (extra-contractual) damages, which might be recoverable in other first-party property damage cases. … Continue Reading

A Hail Dented Roof is Covered Direct Physical Damage and Loss

Only insurance company claims managers and their paid for lawyers could argue that a hail dented roof is not a covered loss under a property insurance policy which specifically covers hail damage. A federal appellate court decision issued last week1 helps put an end to these crazy attempts by insurance company lawyers that argue virtually anything … Continue Reading
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