Massachusetts has adopted a version of the model Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act and recognizes a cause of action for bad faith against a first-party insurer.1 Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 93A § 9 establishes a statutory cause of action for any person who has been injured by another person’s use or employment of any method, act, or practice declared to be unlawful by Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 176D § 3(9), a violation of which may give rise to civil liability under 93A § 9.2 While each state generally has their own specific bad faith statute outlining what constitutes a “unfair” or “deceptive” act by an insurer, Massachusetts law includes conduct typically found throughout the country.
Continue Reading Bad Faith Conduct and Foreseeable Damages in Massachusetts

New Jersey started the coronavirus business insurance legislation, but just like a virus, it is spreading to other jurisdictions. Ohio and Massachusetts filed very similar bills to what was filed in the New Jersey Assembly.
Continue Reading Coronavirus Insurance Law Update March 26—Ohio and Massachusetts File Proposed Legislation Requiring Retroactive Removal of Virus Exclusion To Coronavirus Business Income and Civil Authority Claims

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?
Continue Reading Are Insurance Agents McDonald’s Order Takers or Professional Advisors? The Massachusetts View

The Massachusetts Consumer Service Department responds to inquiries and assists consumers in resolving insurance complaints against insurers, producers and other licensees. Consumer Services also advises consumers of their options and rights under their policies, state laws and regulations. They maintain a database which has an inventory of all written complaints and inquiries received from the public.
Continue Reading How To File A Complaint With The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts, Division Of Insurance About Your Delaying, Denying And Bad Treating Insurance Company

I wrote about Streit v. Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company1 in a recent blogpost. In Streit, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that an insurance policy “intentional loss” exclusion which precluded innocent co-insureds from recovering for a fire loss was unenforceable because it violated the minimum level of protection afforded by the Illinois Standard Fire Policy.
Continue Reading The Massachusetts Standard Fire Policy and the Innocent Co-Insured Doctrine

Shaun Harrington was subcontracted to install a well on the McLaughlins’ property (sorry for the bad pun in the title). Unfortunately, in July and August of 2003, this well starting pumping salt water onto the McLaughlin’s irrigation system causing extensive damage.

A claim was submitted to Harrington’s insurer, American States Insurance Company (ASIC) on November 3, 2003. After not hearing back from ASIC’s adjuster for quite some time, the McLaughlins’ insurance agent called the ASIC’s adjuster, Dresner, on January 26, 2004 inquiring about the status of the claim. After the adjuster spoke with Rachel McLaughlin, Dresner documented the call, sent a letter requesting documents from Harrington and then took no further action until the McLaughlins’ agent called ASIC on February 19, 2004. When Rachel McLaughlin spoke to another adjuster at ASIC during Dresner’s absence, they verbally denied coverage stating the plants may have been damaged by other causes. The adjuster for ASIC was verbally abusive to McLaughlin and when pressed why ASIC had not sent an adjuster out to the property to adjust the damages, the adjuster for ASIC said they had no intention of doing so.

Continue Reading Well…Another Bad Faith Case in Massachusetts

In the property insurance world, appraisal is a commonly used procedure to resolve disagreements over the amount of a loss. However, in Massachusetts, in claims under fire insurance policies, it is referred to as a “reference proceeding.” The “reference procedure” provides that a panel of 3 arbitrators, or “referees,” determines the amount of loss or damage.1

Continue Reading Appraisal in Massachusetts is a “Reference” Proceeding

This week, I had the opportunity to discuss trends in public adjusting with a very seasoned and humble second-generation public adjuster, Leonard "Len" Theran, located in Massachusetts. His public adjusting firm, Professional Loss Adjusters, Inc., employs seven public adjusters, who adjust claims in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Minnesota and Michigan. Professional Loss adjusters has been helping insureds since 1894.

Continue Reading Public Adjusting in Massachusetts