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

One of the strongest tools in an insured’s arsenal is a good public adjuster. If lucky, most insureds will only suffer a property loss once or twice in a lifetime. Not dealing with claims handling on a day to day basis, navigating the claims process can be not only confusing and tedious, but costly as well if the insured does not know when they are being treated unfairly.
Continue Reading Maine’s “36-Hour Rule” Deemed Unconstitutional

The Colorado Department of Insurance has proposed eliminating one of its long-standing bulletins requiring insurance companies to pay contractor overhead and profit rather than deduct the amount until incurred. Such an elimination is obviously against policyholder interests and is the result of insurance industry lobbyists making inroads with Colorado insurance regulators who are supposed to be guardians of the public interest.
Continue Reading Colorado Overhead and Profit Issues—Merlin Law Group Files a Response for Colorado Policyholders

An overwhelming number of claims are settled on a mutual understanding with respect to the covered loss and the amount necessary to indemnify the policyholder. The question is then: What can a policyholder do if the insurance company is taking an unreasonable amount of time to tender settlement payment. Florida law remains focused on strong public policy encouraging settlement of claims. To accomplish that goal Florida legislature has implemented statutes to protect the policyholders even when an amicable resolution has been reached between the policyholder and the insurance company.
Continue Reading In Florida, There Are Penalties For An Insurance Company That Does Not Timely Issue Payment After A Settlement

A federal lawsuit has been filed challenging the free speech rights of solicitation by contractors and public adjusters.1 We have discussed this topic before in Public Adjusters Win Free Speech Rights and Ability to Promptly Help Policyholders, and History Repeats Itself When Public Adjusters Win Free Speech Rights.
Continue Reading Time Limits on Public Adjuster and Contractor Solicitation Challenged as Unconstitutional Restraint on Free Speech

The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling yesterday requiring insurers to communicate “complete” replacement cost estimates to insureds.1 The ruling not only found the regulation requiring this action to be well within the Insurance commissioner’s authority, but found the basis for the regulation to be well founded. It is a wonderful victory for policyholders in California.
Continue Reading Insurers Must Provide Complete Replacement Cost Estimates

Rarely do insurance commissioner bulletins warn insurance companies of paying too much or that consumers are not entitled to insurance benefits. Most departments of insurance only write bulletins because insurance company adjusters pay far too less to similarly situated consumers suffering from the same loss.  Of course, insurance company lobbyists now go into overdrive to argue against the bulletin and to influence those in power to change the bulletin to favor payment of less money. Insurance companies essentially use policyholder premiums to pay the expense of their lobbyists to reduce payments to those paying for the insurance benefits.  How ironic.
Continue Reading Insurance Bulletins Can Help Consumers Looking for Full Recovery