Federal common law interpreting the rules and regulations of the National Flood Program is usually not helpful to policyholders. It has truly become a situation where technical, literal rules are followed to the letter of the law rather than any intent or spirit for why the rule was written. In this “form over substance” common law, which federal judges feel compelled to follow, an important lesson is to follow those rules in an exacting manner or risk losing insurance benefits. One recent case held that an attorney at law, while acting with authority for the client, cannot sign the proof of loss form for the policyholder client.1
Continue Reading Policyholders and Not Their Attorneys Need to Sign Flood Proof of Loss Forms

What are additional living expenses?

Additional living expenses are typically included as a coverage in homeowner property insurance policies under “Loss of Use.” In a recent blog post, Is Your Insurance Company Threatening to Prematurely Terminate Loss of Use Benefits, Merlin Law Group attorney Dan Veroff discussed Loss of Use benefits and what carriers are doing to curtail those benefits prematurely. As stated in that blog post, Loss of Use benefits are intended to cover the cost of temporary placement when the insured premises suffers a covered loss that renders it unusable until repaired.
Continue Reading Additional Living Expenses: What Does Your Policy Cover and For How Long?

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family, and friends. Unfortunately, it can also be a time of fires, home robberies, or even food poisoning. While there is no such thing as “Thanksgiving Insurance,” there is homeowners and renter’s insurance! Unlike Halloween, holiday insurance claims tend to be caused by the homeowners themselves. So, before you head out to buy your turkey, take a minute to review your homeowners insurance policy to make sure you are covered from some of the most common Thanksgiving Turkey Day Terrors.
Continue Reading Does your home insurance policy cover Turkey Day Terrors?

Merlin Law Group attorneys Javier Delgado and Tony Loe successfully won a jury trial arising from a Hurricane Michael trial in Panama City, Florida, last week. When I spoke with Javier Delgado shortly after the verdict, Javier said that the “jury awarded every penny Tony asked for in his closing argument.” The defendant insurance company was Tower Hill.
Continue Reading Policyholder Grateful For Hurricane Michael Trial Win

Exclusion provisions in a policy work to limit the range of coverage by restricting certain events or losses; often serving as a basis to deny a claim. Nevada case law has long held the burden is on the insured to prove a claim falls within the scope of coverage, and the insurer bears the burden to prove the applicability of an exclusion. However, for the first time the Supreme Court for the State of Nevada was faced with the question of who bears the burden to prove an exception to a policy’s exclusion provision, essentially restoring coverage.1
Continue Reading Nevada Insureds Bear Burden of Proving Exceptions to Exclusion Provisions

I was appointed by the court as the liaison coverage counsel for the putative class members in the collapse of the Champlain Towers South. This week, a team of extraordinarily skilled lawyers that I have been working with filed an amended complaint explaining how we currently believe this catastrophe happened. It is a very sad matter. It is hard to be witness to the horrible aftermath the victims and their families live with.
Continue Reading The Champlain Towers Collapse Catastrophe and Purchasing the Right Insurance

One of the basic duties which public adjusters are supposed to accomplish for their policyholder clients is to evaluate the amount of damage and properly file a proof of loss if one is required. I was thinking about this while reading a fairly recent Florida case1 where a public adjuster failed to file a proof of loss on behalf of the policyholder despite the insurance company demanding one in writing. This failure to file a proof of loss cost the policyholder an otherwise valid claim.
Continue Reading Public Adjusters Owe a Duty to Properly Comply with Proof of Loss Requirements

The Louisiana Department of Insurance is working overtime as two years of strong hurricanes take a toll on insurance companies making ends meet and insurance adjusters meeting claims regulations. Last week, the Louisiana Department of Insurance filed suit to take over two regional insurance companies. This followed an October 27th Bulletin reminding everyone of rules applicable following hurricane losses.
Continue Reading Hurricane Claims In Louisiana Cause Bulletins and Financial Failures