California public adjuster Matt Blumkin was with me and other members of Merlin Law Group last night telling a story about how a California wildfire required his entire neighborhood to be evacuated and what needed to be done to clean the smoke and ash which penetrated the homes throughout his community. Ironically, Matt was in New York City negotiating with an insurer over a Malibu wildfire that destroyed a celebrity mansion when he got news from his wife about the emergency order to evacuate. Luckily, his home was not destroyed, but the smoke left residue outside and inside his residence.
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Insurance company law firm Matthiessen, Wickert & Lehrer have updated a thorough discussion of the adjustment issue of matching in an article, ”Matching Regulations” And Laws Affecting Homeowners’ Property Claims In All 50 States. From their view, they noted the current state of affairs regarding matching:

It remains one of the most difficult issues to deal with in the world of property insurance. Homeowners’ insurance policies usually contain a provision obligating the carrier to repair or replace an insured’s damaged property with ‘material of like kind and quality’ or with ‘similar material.’ They cover property damage resulting from ‘sudden and accidental’ losses. When damage caused by fire, smoke, water, hail, or other causes results in a small portion of a home or building being damaged (e.g., shingles, siding, carpet, cabinets, etc.), whether and when a carrier must replace non-damaged portions of a building in order for there to be a perfect match remains a point of contention. It is a matter of great importance to insurance companies because ‘matching’ problems with a slightly damaged section of roof or flooring can lead to a domino effect of tear out and replacement costs of many items which are not damaged. The problem of partial replacement is especially troubling where the damaged siding or shingles have been discontinued, making it virtually impossible to properly match. To replace only the damaged portion would result in an obvious aesthetic deficit due to a clear difference in the appearance of the replaced portion of the building from the portion that remains undamaged.

Would the entire structure need to be re-sided or the entire roof re-shingled? Or is it sufficient to replace just one wall of siding or just a few shingles? Whether or not the insurance company must pay to replace entire sections of the structure in order to bring the property back to its previous uniformity and aesthetics can bring various state insurance laws and regulations into play. On the one hand, many pundits claim that the terms of the insurance policy require the carrier to pay the cost to ‘repair or replace with similar construction for the same use on the premises.’ They argue that ‘similar’ doesn’t mean matching exactly. Others argue that coverage for ‘matching’ and ‘uniformity’ under a homeowner’s policy doesn’t exist without a specific endorsement. The truth lies somewhere in between and can vary greatly from state to state.
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As a follow up to the Insurance Protection Gaps webinar mentioned in yesterday‘s post, Water Loss From Toilet Overflow Is Covered Despite State Farm Denial, Professor James Hilliard of Temple University’s Department of Risk, Insurance, and Healthcare Management provided a basic outline and his presentation is somewhat similar to Professor Jay Feinman’s much more detailed work on the matter.
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The Mid-Atlantic Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (MAPIA) held a meeting this past week with about thirty-five public adjusters in attendance. President Paul Yemm, yours truly, Holly Soffer, and Tony DiUlio are pictured above. Soffer and Diulio gave a wonderful insurance gaps presentation that was highlighted Tony DiUlio’s discussion of a water loss that resulted in a bad faith verdict against State Farm.
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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has released the results of its 2019 Survey of Travel Insurance. The results show that more and more people intend to purchase travel insurance in the upcoming year than in previous years. With the holiday season quickly approaching and children off of school that means holiday travel for many. Let’s look at what “travel insurance” really is and what should a travel consider when purchasing.
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In 2017 and 2018, California experienced devastating wildfires, during which thousands of structures, homes, and businesses were destroyed. California insurers scrambled to adjust the thousands of claims but it was quickly recognized that they were not prepared to timely handle losses due to a large-scale natural disaster. The California legislature responded, enacting several amendments to the law extending the time policyholders had to collect additional living expenses and replacement costs.
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Insurance estimators, appraisers, and adjusters of roofing claims should read the attached partial specifications of a commercial roofing project. There has been some discussion of what a “reasonable” cost should be, but I think most would require that the scope of a commercial roofing job involving insurance be one that is going to result in a “quality” job. So, how do you determine what a quality commercial roofing job would be? I suggest you would look at specifications that the construction industry has come up with to prevent non-quality work from occurring.
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Some of the more interesting discussions about property insurance losses which I have read lately come from Steve Patrick’s “Level The Playing Field” Facebook Group. Recently, Leland Coontz wrote the following:

I’ve been triggered again. Someone mentioned on Facebook that ‘The insured is not allowed to profit from their loss.’ Show me your law license and I might respect your wrong opinion. But it would still be wrong.

His post triggered over 130 comments with very different opinions.
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