One of the first topics anybody should consider before claiming an insurance agent is negligent is the specific state law on the topic. Since virtually all states require people that sell any type of insurance to be licensed, many find it surprising that some states only impose a duty of care as an “order taker” rather a “professional advisor.” So, in Massachusetts, what duty does the law impose?
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Merlin Law Group Attorney Mary Fortson celebrated her 20th year in our firm last week. In the summer of 2008, she met with Texas public adjusters Art Jansen and Jim Beneke about re-establishing the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (TAPIA). Today, TAPIA has 100 paid members.
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The Supreme Court of Iowa in three opinions1 this week affirmed various rulings which held that 33 Carpenters’ contractual assignment was unenforceable, as it was operating as an unlicensed public adjuster. I wrote about the lower appellate court decision in, Contractor Acted as an Unlicensed Public Adjuster, Notwithstanding Assignment of Claim and Benefits.
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A few years ago, I asked Merlin Law Group attorney Doug Grose, “How did we end up in arbitration in London, England with policy delivered in Texas, a loss in Houston, Texas and our client from Houston, Texas?” He told me there was an arbitration provision and the federal court ordered us to go to arbitration in London because that is where the policy required the arbitration take place. I asked Doug: ”Geez, forgetting the extraordinary increased cost to our client do this, what chance do you think we have in arbitration in London against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London?”
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The Win The Storm conference was abuzz about a trio of Iowa cases that ruled void residential restoration contracts.1 The primary lesson to insurance restoration contractors is the promises made in contracts and found in advertisements may lead to contracts being found void pursuant to laws in many states. Contractors can expect insurance companies and possibly their own customers to challenge Assignment of Benefits and other construction contracts where insurance restoration contractors promise to provide services which constitute public adjusting.
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The purpose of a Civil Remedy Notice (“Notice”) is to provide an insurance company with a final opportunity to comply with its good-faith claim handling obligations and fix previous wrongdoings.1 Once a property owner files a Notice, the insurance company has a sixty-day window to fix the alleged wrongdoings to avoid “bad-faith” litigation.2 However, when an insurance company commits multiple wrongdoings, it may be necessary for an insured to file multiple Notices.
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In Florida, certain first-party property cases are being ordered to non-binding arbitration. Under the statute and the State’s procedural rules, a Florida court may refer a civil case to arbitration before going to trial.1 While every case is different, resolving a case before trial can sometimes be favorable (e.g., through mediation). Participating in a non-binding arbitration is one way for early resolution. However, despite its name, a non-binding arbitration is not inherently devoid of risk and can have repercussions.
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