Nationwide Insurance Company claims managers may need to add botany and common-sense training to their claims education program. A Nationwide claims specialist sent photos of hibiscus plants to police indicating that Nationwide policyholders with a fallen tree loss were growing marijuana. The Nationwide policyholders look straight out of central casting as the “perfect aging couple” with grey hair and looking anything other than hippy dippy pot growers.
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Like me, you’ve probably seen Nationwide Insurance’s widely aired commercial touting their service, "Brand New Belongings." The eye-catching ads feature a sleek Cat-Women-like heroine coming to the rescue in every homeowner’s worst nightmare situations, stealthily following behind home-invading thieves to replace the items they steal, or swinging into a fire-damaged apartment to switch out smoke-damaged valuable with shiny, new ones. The narrator explains these entertaining scenarios illustrate Nationwide’s "Brand New Belongings" program, in which they "replace destroyed or stolen items with brand new versions," not just paying you their partial value.


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This is a quote from a recent trial court order in a New York state case where Nationwide asked the judge to decide in its favor without submitting the case to the jury. Congregation Chesed L’Avraham d/b/a V’Kollel Ohel Moshe Society v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., No. 19954/09 (N.Y.S. Sup.Ct. Kings County 2011). Since the practice of law is an art, there is not a bright line rule as to when the facts of a case support an insurance company’s motion for summary judgment. Some insurers file them regularly to see if they can get a favorable ruling without the need for a jury trial.

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The following coverage case note summarizes a decision rendered last week in Florida. Even for a practitioner constantly involved with insurance coverage disputes, it is hard to follow the entire logic of the Court’s reasoning. I doubt those outside the law will find the decision very helpful, unless they want to become brained tired and desire sleep.

What is apparent to one reading all risk policies for nearly three decades is the ever changing language drafted by insurers which increasingly limits coverage through broadening exclusionary language. Early all risk policies would have covered most of Ms. Liebel’s damage. As indicated here, only part of the damage is covered.


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The exodus of the larger national multiline carriers along coastal areas continues. Nationwide has reportedly filed a plan to non-renew 60,000 property insurance policies in Florida starting next July. Unlike State Farm, however, Nationwide Insurance Company has made arrangements with Tower Hill Insurance Group out of Gainesville, Florida, to accept all 60,000 policies.


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Some insurance policies have small print that can provide significant business income benefits under "dependent properties" that usually go unnoticed following a widespread catastrophe. I would encourage Nationwide and Nationwide agents to write, advertise and call their Hurricane Ike and other commercial policyholder customers about these valuable benefits because it is obvious to me that their adjusters have no clue about what this benefit means and are ignorant to advise their own policyholders about it.


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I was thinking about the question of property insurance trade associations and lobbying while reading today’s St. Petersburg Times article, At what Cost Care? The article was a question and answer discussion with Wendell Potter, who was a public relations executive for two major health insurers. Potter has given an inside view into the political and social power of the health insurance industry in a manner most Americans probably deplore. I wonder if property insurers are different? I doubt it.


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Coastal Mississippi policyholders are well served by the daily and in depth reporting by Slabbed. Writing daily for this blog is time consuming; posting two to five in-depth discussions each day must border on a full time job. Lately, Slabbed’s posts have highlighted two important issues regarding insurance coverage and insurance coverage litigation in Mississippi. One, if insurance companies want to pay nothing under the all-risk policy because of the anti-concurrent causation clause, a new form policy is needed–even if the government has to sponsor it. Two, the insurance industry is winning the lawsuits in Southern Mississippi because they are winning the discovery battle over key information.


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Why are major insurance companies selling insurance with "feel good" messages rather than explaining how many different types of accidents and catastrophes they will not cover? If they were honest, wouldn’t they explain to customers what is not covered before the purchase? Sandy Burnette wrote a comment to "Is the State Farm Policy Really Worth Anything?" As I indicated in yesterday’s "Some Public Adjuster and Insurance Attorney Concerns and My Blogging Mistakes," he made a valid criticism which I corrected and appreciate him calling to my attention.


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