A Colorado public adjuster asked me a question about replacement cost coverage. The question had to do with a remodeling of the structure rather than spending money only on damaged items.   

Continue Reading Can a Policyholder Use Replacement Cost Benefits to Remodel or Replace at Another Location? What is the Standard to Collect Replacement Cost Benefits? The Three Prong Limitation

Isn’t it great when people work collaboratively on a noble cause and grand success happens? 

Merlin Law Group attorneys Drew Houghton from Oklahoma and Dan Ballard from Redbank, New Jersey, worked with policyholder attorney Jason Liss from Michigan to obtain a significant ruling yesterday in the Southern District of New York.1

Continue Reading Blockbuster New York Appraisal Decision Impacts Causation and Period of Restoration Determinations

My sister, Emily Merlin, has a bachelor’s degree in paralegal administration from the University of West Florida. She reminds me that she can do anything that I can as a lawyer except give legal advice, take depositions or go to hearings. The truth is that paralegals help our policyholder clients and can become subject matter experts. They can make the difference between winning and losing a case. 

Continue Reading Marine, Boat, and Yacht Claims Files Are Discoverable In New York—A Tribute Post To Retiring Paralegal Bob Bluni 

During the First Party Claims Conference last week, New York attorney Jonathan Lerner and I discussed the new public adjuster regulations that had just come into effect in New York on October 8. The New York Department of Financial Services listed the following in a press release announcing these new regulations:
Continue Reading New York Public Adjusters Have New Consumer Protections To Follow

Recently the New York Statute of Limitations has become a heated topic of litigation. Governor Cuomo issued Executive Orders tolling the Statute of Limitations, but the question has become, what is the effect of those orders? The Statute of Limitations in New York is generally six years,1 however, this can be altered by contract. Many Insurance Policies shorten this six-year period to only twelve months.
Continue Reading New York Statute of Limitations and the Effect of the COVID-19 Closures

My Red Bank colleague, Dan Ballard, and I recently gave a presentation about Misrepresentations & Mistakes at the 2020 Fall Conference of the Professional Public Adjusters Association of New Jersey (PPAANJ). During that presentation, I discussed New York case law providing that a homeowners insurance policy may be voided if the insured willfully and fraudulently places in the proof of loss a statement of property lost which the insured did not possess, or places a false and fraudulent value upon the articles which the insured did not own.
Continue Reading Incorrect Information Within Proof of Loss Not Enough To Void Insurance Policy

Initially, it is beneficial to define just what exactly is meant by the phrase “regulatory estoppel” in the context of insurance policies. This theory is a form of equitable estoppel whereby insurers are prevented, or “stopped,” from asserting an interpretation of an insurance policy provision that is contrary to the insurer’s explanation of that provision to state insurance regulators when the insurer originally sought approval of the policy form from the state department of insurance. In layman’s terms, the insurance company is prevented from arguing that a specific policy provision has a different meaning than the meaning originally presented to an insurance agency or during a judicial proceeding.
Continue Reading Regulatory Estoppel – What is it and How Can it be Successfully Pleaded in New York?