Similar to other states, Arizona has adopted unfair claims settlement practices statutes and regulations. While one cannot a bring a private cause of action under the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act1 and its companion regulations, they lay out specific standards for insurers to promptly investigate and process claims.
Continue Reading Arizona Claims Handling Guidelines at a Glance

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued multiple Public Health Orders including 20-20, 20-22, 20-23, and 20-24 (collectively “Orders”), which have limited otherwise normal business and personal interactions and activities. Due to this unprecedented impact on employment and business activities, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies – Division of Insurance (“DOI”) has recognized the impacts to the self-quarantine requirements for Colorado policyholders.
Continue Reading The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance, Directs Insurance Carriers to Make Reasonable Accommodations to Policyholders Pursuant to Stay at Home Orders

This past weekend I was asked the question above. This is what I found in Louisiana. On March 26, 2020, by Proclamation No. JBE 2020-37, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards transferred certain insurance matters to Commissioner of Insurance James J. Donelon. Commissioner Donelon quickly instituted reasonable emergency measures to address the growing concerns of Louisiana’s residents through Emergency Rule 40 – Moratorium on Policy Cancellations and Non-Renewals for Policyholders in Louisiana during the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) (“Rule 40”).1
Continue Reading Louisiana–COVID-19 Pandemic Relief: My Mortgage is Deferred, What about My Insurance Premiums?

In 2019, Merlin Law Group’s California offices received calls almost daily from insureds who were “dropped” by their homeowners insurance company (i.e., non-renewed). The reason insurers are providing? Unsurprisingly: increasing risks of wildfires. In November 2019, Ricardo Lara, the California Insurance Commissioner, exercised his powers to place a one-year moratorium on cancelling insurance policies related to wildfire risk. Earlier in the month, Lara ordered the FAIR Plan—a quasi-governmental insurer-of-last-resort for people who can’t get insurance elsewhere—to sell the same kind of policies for which Californians once had no problem qualifying.1
Continue Reading Has Your Homeowners Insurance Been Cancelled? What California’s One-Year Moratorium on Homeowners Policy Non-Renewals Means for You

A judge agreed with my view posted in, Did Florida Mistakenly Place an Insurer Into Insolvency, Try to Disqualify the Law Firm That Pointed Out the Mistake and Harm 91,000 Policyholders By Quick and Unnecessary Non-Renewals?

The Florida Department of Financial Services and the Office of Insurance simply made a mess of Florida Specialty Insurance Company’s financial problems and cancellation of policies.
Continue Reading Judge Calls Out Florida Department of Financial Services and Office of Insurance Regulation for Improper Liquidation and Unlawful Cancellation of Policies

In California, the moment an insured obtains a repair estimate that exceeds the insurer’s estimate, the insurer must either pay the difference or adjust its original estimate. This rule is set forth in the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Act, 10 Cal. Code Regs. § 2695.9(d). Generally, whenever anyone makes an insurance claim, the insurance company will create a scope of work to repair the damaged property and an estimate of what that cost to repair is. The insurer’s estimate does not atomically mean that is the amount of the claim. An insured has the right to get his or her own estimate and the insurer is required to consider that estimate.
Continue Reading Insurance Regulations Prohibit an Insurer From Just Standing By Its Repair Estimate When An Insured’s Estimate Demonstrates the Cost to Repair Is More – Another California Practice Tip

It is becoming more and more common that insurance companies are recommending and suggesting that their “preferred vendors” perform loss repairs. California offers insureds protection if they opt to use a preferred vendor. Under the Fairs Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, if an insurer recommends a vendor, the insurer is essentially required to guaranty that vendor’s work.
Continue Reading California Regulations Require That an Insurer’s Preferred Vendor Return Property to Its Pre-Loss Condition – A Quick Guide to What You Need to Know

Many policyholders do not have enough insurance to replace their buildings or homes after a total loss. Often these policyholders were assured by their agents or insurance companies at the point of sale that their limits were sufficient. And many times these assurances were based on estimates that fell below the minimum standards set by law.
Continue Reading California Insurers Are Violating Replacement Cost Estimate Laws

From left to right, JL Evans, Donice Krueger, Chip Merlin, Ron Delo, James and Rene Howard

Hurricane Michael insurance claims continue to take up a lot of time with Merlin Law Group attorneys. The photograph above is from dinner last night in Panama City, Florida, where the issues and problems of getting insurance claims resolved fully were the hot topic of discussion. Hurricane Michael has a lot of slow and low paying claims where insurers are wrongfully reporting to the Office of Insurance Regulation that the claim is administratively “closed” when it is anything other than being over from the policyholder’s view.
Continue Reading Hurricane Michael Claims Deserve Continued Attention By Florida Insurance Regulators

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier

Assignment of benefits contracts for property damage claims may be going the way of the dinosaur in Florida. A recent Florida Insurance Bulletin notes that the new statute allows insurance companies to issue policies preventing an assignment of benefits if insurers offer a premium discount.
Continue Reading Contractors Beware Taking AOB Contracts For Restoration Work: New Policy Forms Restricting AOB Contacts Discussed By Recent Insurance Bulletin