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

Holly Soffer wrote a guest blog yesterday, COVID-19 and The New Jersey Assembly Bill 3844, which concerned a bill that would retroactively void the “virus” exclusion and potentially open up the business income loss, extra expense, and civil authority coverages under commercial policies to those businesses with less than 100 employees. I summarily dismissed this bill in, Coronavirus Insurance Coverage Update—Politicians Becoming Involved. But this involves New Jersey, and as one great sports commentator reminds us about our opinions, “not so fast, my friend.”
Continue Reading

NOTE: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

While many of us are working at home, we have more time to spend analyzing and contemplating the roles of the government and the insurance industry in responding to the coronavirus crisis. This blog post is an extension of that opportunity.
Continue Reading

Back in November of 2019, Chip, Jesse Sipe, Brett Rosen and I met with New Jersey Commissioner Marlene Caride and her team in Trenton. The meeting was very informative and a good start to hopefully a long-standing relationship between the Professional Public Adjusters Association of New Jersey, the plaintiff’s Bar, and the Commissioner’s office.
Continue Reading

Javier Delgado worked his way through law school as an independent insurance claims adjuster with Merlin Law Group attorney Etienne Font as his boss. Javier has had great success with our firm after joining us shortly after Hurricane Ike in Texas where he represented hundreds of slabbed clients on the Bolivar peninsula. He has testified to the Texas legislature, taught judges and federal mediators in New Jersey and New York following Superstorm Sandy, and last week testified in front of the Florida legislature.
Continue Reading

Wildfires have ravaged California the last several years. In addition to the devastation caused, the wildfires have also brought unfair property insurance terms and insurance carriers’ claim practices to light. Fortunately for California policyholders, the legislature has addressed some of these issues, which we have featured in prior blog posts. The California Assembly has already, in 2020, introduced some new legislation that will be friendly to policyholders. It is contained in Assembly Bill No. 182 and is summarized as follows:
Continue Reading

Last year, I wrote about a New Jersey federal court decision that involved an insurance policy’s anti-concurrent causation clause. An anti-concurrent causation clause bars coverage when two identifiable causes-one covered and one not covered-contribute to a single loss. In that case, the court dismissed the insured’s claim for damages to certain portions of the property, noting that federal and state courts in New Jersey have applied and enforced anti-concurrent causation provisions.
Continue Reading

Laws impacting policyholders is something Merlin Law Group attorneys are concerned about. We try to be the Policyholder’s Advocate® by our actions and not just pay lip service to it. So, we often travel to meet with legislators and regulators in various states about policyholder rights.

Dan Ballard was in the New Jersey legislature two weeks ago supporting a bad faith bill to help policyholders. I found myself in Tallahassee this Tuesday speaking against a bill which would change the manner attorneys fees are determined by courts. Since a few policyholders will certainly not be able to afford to pay an attorney out of their pocket and find attorneys willing to take their cases based on the change in the law, I spoke against it—but was given a grand total of about 2 minutes to speak! Why have hearings about bills if the public cannot participate?
Continue Reading

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 240, which enacts new laws that regulate out of state independent adjusters. The law also addresses claim adjustment for declared emergencies. The new laws, described more fully below, became effective on October 3. 2019.
Continue Reading