Archives: Court Opinion

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Late Notice in New York – Part II Recent Court of Appeals Ruling Rejects Expansion of Current Law

In a recent blog I discussed how a Second Circuit Court of Appeals case, Fabrozzi v. Lexington Insurance Company,1 interpreted the law regarding “Late Notice” expansively in favor of policyholders. A recent New York State Court of Appeals ruling has failed to continue this expansion and has left the law as it was regarding a … Continue Reading

Another Case on Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Property Insurance Claims

Recently, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving Florida’s Statute of Limitations for property insurance claims.1 The question in this case, as well as many others recently, involves a 2011 amendment to §95.11(2)(e), which states that the limitations period in an action for breach of a property insurance contract begins … Continue Reading

Stranger Than Fiction: Property Insurance Policies Do Not Cover…Exploding Corpses!!?!

Certainly the majority of an attorney’s work in any given field has a certain amount of repetition, whether returning clients or similar claims. However, occasionally a case comes along unlike any you’ve ever seen before: Last week, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that damage caused to a home due to an exploding corpse was not a … Continue Reading

Florida Case on Policy Cancellation Reveals the Importance of Making Sure Mailing Address on Policy Is Up-To-Date and Accurate

Check the mailing address on your policy and double check it again to make sure it is accurate. That is the best advice I can give after reading a recent Florida appellate court case involving a policy cancellation notice the insurer mailed to its insured.1 The address shown in the insurance policy for the mailing … Continue Reading

New York Policyholder Appeals Court Order Dismissing Bad Faith Allegations Against Insurer

A topic of interest in New York, where courts are currently hearing Superstorm Sandy cases, is whether policyholder allegations of bad faith claims handling against insurers state a cause of action under state law. Needless to say, policyholder and carrier advocates do not agree on this issue. It is a hot topic too, with thousands … Continue Reading

Compliance With Examinations Under Oath – Supreme Court of Florida Authority Hot Off The Press

Many moons ago (on October 26, 2012, to be precise), I blogged about compliance with examination conditions. That blog noted conflicting views as to what is required of a policyholder under the policy’s condition for examination under oath (in the property insurance context) or compulsory medical examination (in the health, disability, or long-term care insurance … Continue Reading

Insurable Interest of a Property Management Company in Commercial Managed Property

Last week, I discussed the concept of insurable interest in Florida and the effect of a foreclosure judgment on a party’s insurable interest in property. Let’s continue the discussion of insurable interest this week. Does a property management company have an insurable interest in commercial property which it manages but does not own?… Continue Reading

Insurance Carriers’ Challenges To Assignments Of Benefits

Oftentimes policyholders that have suffered a loss turn to representatives that will be able to help them in emergency situations. These companies may take assignments of the insurance claim proceeds as payment for their services. Examples are water dry-out companies, emergency services contractors, and fire cleanup companies. Insurance carriers have been challenging these types of … Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Supports an Expansive View of Vandalism Coverage Under Property Insurance Policy

New York’s highest appellate court holds an expansive view of property insurance coverage for vandalism losses. Back in January, 2013, I wrote a post: So There Is An Excavation Company As Your Next Door Neighbor; Could It Trigger Vandalism Coverage To Your Property, about a question the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit … Continue Reading

Florida Homeowners Are Entitled to Replacement Cost Without First Entering Into a Contract or Incurring the Costs

In property insurance claims, insurers will often pay for repairs at actual cash value (withholding depreciation) and inform the policyholder that once the repairs are actually made or contracted for they will pay the holdback amount and receive the replacement cost value (“RCV”). In Florida, residential policyholders insured under replacement cost value policies are entitled … Continue Reading

Florida Law On Multiple-Peril Losses

A recent opinion was issued from a Florida appellate court involving a property insurance claim that stemmed from multiple losses. The Second District Appeals Court of Florida noted in the opinion that the multiple-peril loss issue has not often arisen in Florida case law history regarding first-party property insurance claims. The case is American Home … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court Says Ambiguities in Policy Language Are To Be Construed in Favor of the Policyholder and Coverage Without Considering Extrinsic Evidence

The words on the page of the insurance policy matter and are very important to both parties to the agreement. Since the insurance company drafts the policy, if there is any ambiguity in the terms it writes and selects, ambiguity and interpretation will be resolved in the policyholder’s favor and in favor of coverage. However, … Continue Reading

Liberty Mutual wrongly denying your sinkhole loss claim: A glimpse into the future reveals help may be on its way

On June 27, 2013 the Florida Supreme issued an important decision addressing the issue, “whether, under Florida Statute § 627.736, an insurer can require an insured to attend an examination under oath as a condition precedent to recovery of personal injury protection “PIP” benefits? In Nunez v. Geico General Insurance Company,1 the Florida Supreme Court … Continue Reading

A Step in the Right Direction: Appraisal Awards Satisfy Condition Precedent to Bad Faith Actions

(Note: This guest blog is by Ashley Smith, a third-year law student clerking in our Tampa, Florida, office) A new opinion takes a step in the right direction for Florida policyholders seeking to hold insurance carriers accountable for their conduct in the adjustment of insurance claims. The Second District Court of Appeal’s opinion in Hunt … Continue Reading

Florida Appellate Court Holds Water Loss That Results From A Deteriorated Pipe Is Covered

Policyholder representatives are noticing more water loss claims denied—even though similar claims with the same policy language were paid a couple years ago. Water loss claims are probably one of the most common, aside from large catastrophes like hurricanes, so this trend is disturbing. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal issued an opinion finding coverage … Continue Reading

Insurance Industry Knows Chipped Tile Case Wrongly Decided

Insurance defense attorneys often argue coverage does not exist for losses the insurance industry routinely pays and recognizes as covered. I believe Ergas v. Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company,1 which I discussed yesterday in Chipped Tile Claims Get Marred, misconstrues longstanding insurance contract interpretation. Hopefully, the policyholders’ attorneys file a motion for rehearing, because … Continue Reading

Chipped Tile Claims Get Marred

Restoration contractors, public adjusters and some attorneys feasting on "chipped tile claims" in South Florida got hammered yesterday in a very problematic decision Ergas v. Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company.1 From a claims standpoint, South Florida is ground zero for "chipped tile claims." The frequency of that type of loss is geographically extraordinary because … Continue Reading

Safeco Loses Bad Faith Appeal

In January 2011, I wrote a series of posts titled A Wisconsin Policyholder’s Success in a Bad Faith Lawsuit Against Safeco. In the case, the policyholders suffered extensive water and mold damage and filed a claim with Safeco. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin ruled in favor of the policyholders, … Continue Reading