Public adjusters in Florida have routinely appointed themselves as appraisers for their policyholder clients. This generally saves the policyholder money and provides a person already familiar with the loss and ready to move the appraisal process along. However, based on the trend and discussion in legal court cases, it appears that this practice of self-appointment will be a thing of the past.
Continue Reading Florida Public Adjusters Appointing Themselves As Appraisers May Be History

The answer to the above question on Certificates of Insurance1 is found in another long-awaited answer to a certified question2 that was tendered nearly a year ago from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Washington Supreme Court in T-Mobile USA v. Selective Insurance Company of America. The question certified was:

Under Washington law, is an insurer bound by representations made by its authorized agent in a certificate of insurance with respect to a party’s status as an additional insured under a policy issued by the insurer, when the certificate includes language disclaiming its authority and ability to expand coverage?
Continue Reading Can a Certificate of Insurance Change the Terms of An Insurance Policy?

In Florida, if an insured fails to meet a post-loss obligation, is it a complete bar to recovery? In a recent decision, the Third District Court of Appeal certified conflict with the Fourth District Court of Appeal and held that an insurer must be prejudiced by the insured’s non-compliance with a post-loss obligation in order for the insured to forfeit coverage.
Continue Reading Is Failing to Comply With a Post-Loss Duty an Automatic Bar to Recovery?

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

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 disclaimed coverage on the basis that damage to his real and personal property resulting from a broken water main was excluded under the policy as flood, surface and ground water intrusion.
Continue Reading Broken Water Main Damage: Flood or Not Flood Under Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Texas policyholders have been through somewhat of a drought lately when it comes to favorable opinions regarding the disposition of motions to sever and abate filed by Defendant insurers. A break in this dry spell, however, arrived with the recent decision of Donald v. Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas.1
Continue Reading Can a Policyholder Litigate Bad Faith in the Breach of Contract Lawsuit?

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 resorted to appraisal as a quicker, more cost-effective, binding means to determine a critical issue under the policy – the amount of a loss.
Continue Reading Much Needed Clarification of Appraiser Qualifications in Florida