Rep. Jackie Toledo

The Insurance Journal published an article last week, Sometimes I Disagree with the Blogs I Love. The article had a lengthy discussion of this blog. I really like how it started:

Property Insurance Coverage Law – Chip Merlin and team do a great job helping me to understand what’s going on in property insurance law around the country. Everyone that writes here is super sharp and helps me to understand the legal changes and challenges around the country.
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Insurance company lawyers and lobbyists are a crafty crew. Kelly Kubiak got word from me after I learned late Tuesday afternoon that Florida legislators needed to hear from her early Wednesday morning regarding a proposed law that would let delaying, denying and wrongful acting insurance companies obtain a “get out of free jail card” so long as a claim was paid 20-60 days after appraisal. Kelly changed her schedule and travelled up to Tallahassee to do work For the PolicyholderTM.
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An overwhelming number of claims are settled on a mutual understanding with respect to the covered loss and the amount necessary to indemnify the policyholder. The question is then: What can a policyholder do if the insurance company is taking an unreasonable amount of time to tender settlement payment. Florida law remains focused on strong public policy encouraging settlement of claims. To accomplish that goal Florida legislature has implemented statutes to protect the policyholders even when an amicable resolution has been reached between the policyholder and the insurance company.
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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.
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Rep. Sean Shaw
Rep. Sean Shaw

House Bill 911, effective January 1, 2018, was filed by Representative Sean Shaw and enacted by the Florida Legislature to amend Fla. Stat. § 626.854, which protects policyholders through the regulation of public adjusters. Chip Merlin discussed this new law in detail in his post on July 2, 2017. In requiring public adjusters to be licensed by the State of Florida and defining the scope of their services, the Florida Legislature also excluded the growing practice of unlicensed public adjusting and the unauthorized practice of law. By defining what a licensed public adjuster can do for policyholders, the amended law notifies contractors, vendors, accountants, and others known after a catastrophe to unlawfully solicit business to act in the scope of a public adjuster. One service to policyholders that was recently questioned was whether an appraiser is required to be licensed in Florida. In the answer to this question, many others will find the answer to other services related to public adjusters, which do require a license.
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September 10, 2018, marked the one-year anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Irma in Florida. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the estimate of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma is $50,000,000,000.1 Well over a year since its devastation across the state, Floridians remain resilient and committed to rebuild their lives.
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In December of last year, my colleague Ashley Harris discussed Security First Insurance Co. v. Florida Office of Insurance Regulation,1 where the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) upheld the Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) prohibition of proposed language in an insurance policy that would require “all insureds, all additional insureds and all mortgagees” named on a policy to consent to any post-loss assignment of benefits (“AOBs”) to a third party.
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