The Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association held a training session in Orlando today. The session was led by Robert Norton. The audience had a number of very experienced appraisers and umpires, many with insurance company backgrounds. Robert Norton has been teaching on this area for twelve years. He is truly an expert on the various issues involved with appraisal. I learned a lot from him and the discussion with the audience.
Continue Reading What is a “Competent” Umpire for a Property Insurance Appraisal?

Jeff Boyles, a fantastic lawyer who has represented Merlin Law Group as its Copyright and Trademark attorney, is the son of Jean Niven. He called me on Monday morning. I saw his name on my cell phone, knew what it was about, and I told him that I was afraid of what he was about to tell me.
Continue Reading Jean Niven Was a Champion for Policyholders, Beloved by Many For Her Unselfish Help and Optimism, and My Dear Friend

Drew Houghton made his wife and dogs stay in the inner bathroom of his Oklahoma City home last week as a tornadic hailstorm was bearing down on them. He then did something stupid—he left this safer place and started taking a video of the hailstorm event with his cell phone. On the video, you can hear the rumble of the storm sounding like a freight train with bullets of hailstones smashing through his windows and pounding on his house’s roof and walls.
Continue Reading Hail Damage Attorney Suffers Hail Damage—Learn From a Hail Damage Expert on Tuesday @2 With Chip Merlin and Drew Houghton

Everyone who has been to law school learns about Negligence and the reasonable person standard. This standard is “what a reasonable person would have done in the same or similar circumstances.” However, an insurance agent will be held to a similarly situated insurance agent in the same circumstances.
Continue Reading The Standard of Care Owed by Insurance Agents in the District Of Columbia

After having suffered a dish washer leak to their home, policyholders submitted a claim to their insurance company. The insurance company sent the policyholders a Reservation of Rights letter requesting a signed, sworn proof of loss within 60 days. The homeowners failed to meet this deadline and submitted their sworn proof of loss after the insurance company filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and material breach. The trial court entered a final summary judgment for the insurance company based upon the failure of the insureds to comply with their obligation to provide a sworn proof of loss, and the policyholders appealed.1
Continue Reading Late Filed Proof of Loss – Does Delay Result in Denial?

In August of 2018, an explosion and fire severely damaged the insured’s bar, restaurant and bowling alley.1 Auto-Owners Insurance Company (“Owners”) insured the buildings and personal property at the time of the loss. After resoling their dispute over coverage on damage to the building, Owners made payment. However, a dispute remained between the parties as to amounts owed for business personal property (“BPP”) and electronic data processing equipment (“EDP”), among others.
Continue Reading Court Orders Parties to Appraisal Even Though Neither Party Requested It

A few recent events prompted me to write about boat insurance policies, and what you should know if you are a new or seasoned boat owner. Chip Merlin and the Merlin Yacht Racing team recently competed in an offshore race from St. Petersburg to Pensacola. My own recent sailing adventure took an exciting yet unexpected turn as we sailed downwind in 16-knot breeze. One of my close friends recently became the new sailboat owner of Melges 24, Firewater, owned by the late George Haynie – a sailing mentor, legend, and dear friend to all at Davis Island Yacht Club.
Continue Reading What Do I Need to Know About My Boatowners Insurance Policy?

Most states have ethical regulations for all adjusters to follow. Florida’s ethical regulation starts off with this preamble which is similarly found in many other states:

The work of adjusting insurance claims engages the public trust. An adjuster shall put the duty for fair and honest treatment of the claimant above the adjuster’s own interests in every instance.

Continue Reading Adjusters and Public Adjusters Have Ethical Rules to Follow—Insurance Company Adjusters Should Not Suggest Policyholders Refrain from Retaining Attorneys or Public Adjusters

In California, insurance carriers seeking to avoid allegations of committing bad faith, whether in litigation or not, will often ask insureds if they are willing to enter into “White waiver” agreements. The purpose of such an agreement is to allow an insurance carrier to make offers of settlement without fear of the amount of the settlement being used as evidence against the carrier for bad faith, if the perceived amount of the settlement offer is too low.
Continue Reading Should Policyholders Sign a “White Waiver” Agreement?