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 California Assembly Introduces More Policyholder Friendly Legislation

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 New Jersey Introduces Legislation That Prohibits Anti-Concurrent Causation Clauses In Homeowners Insurance Policies

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 Do Florida Legislators Care More About Their Gun Laws Not Being Followed Than Policyholders?

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 California Enacts New Laws that Regulate Out of State Independent Adjusters and Address Claim Adjustment Obligations for Declared Emergencies

California’s Senate Bill 2401 is making its way through the legislature and will hopefully bring some important changes to the way insurance companies train their out of state adjusters who handle California based policyholder’s claims. The bill, also known as the Insurance Adjuster Act of 2019, was created by Senator Bill Dodd to eliminate confusion and delays caused by out-of-state or unaware adjusters.
Continue Reading California’s Insurance Adjuster Act of 2019 Is Coming

The infamous “Hail Bill” will be celebrating its second birthday this September 1, 2019. Whether there will be any celebrations is another question. The “Hail Bill” – the Chapter 542A amendment to the Texas Insurance Code—covers first-party claims arising from “forces of nature.”1 Within that chapter, one notably section is 542A.006, which allows an insurer to elect to assume its agent’s civil liability for the agent’s conduct related to the handling of a claim. This section has been seeing a lot of litigation of late.
Continue Reading Remand From Federal Court After Passage of the “Hail Bill:” Section 542A.006 and the Election of Legal Responsibility

My primary role as an attorney at Merlin Law Group is to represent the best interests of policyholders and get all benefits owed following a loss. But, I call it like I see it when approached with debatable inquiries from contractors and restoration companies.
Continue Reading Florida’s AOB Reform Bill Became Effective July 1, 2019: How Does This Affect Me?

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

The string of natural disasters that struck California in 2017 and 2018 resulted in new legislation expanding the rights of California policyholders. The California legislature has drafted and introduced new legislation that would continue to expand policyholders’ rights.
Continue Reading Pending California Property Insurance Legislation – A Continued Expansion of Insured’s Rights

The Problem: Waiving insurance policy deductibles (“you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”) has been common place in Texas since 1989 and came about as the result of a poorly worded statute passed that same year that contractors have basically ignored. Contractors who have broken the 1989 law by waving deductibles (primarily roofing contractors) are known as “deductible eaters.” Homeowners were lured into signing contracts with the deductible eaters based on promises, for example, of a “free roof.” And then, homeowners/policyholders were duped into committing insurance fraud when in submitting a request pursuant to their policy for replacement cost (RCV) hold-back, they failed to tell their insurance company that the deductible part of the claim had not been incurred. What this means, again for example, before the new law, is that the roof job a homeowner got where the $2000 deductible was waived or “forgiven” and buried in other ways in the contractor’s paperwork, will now be required as payment out-of-pocket and proof that it was paid before the insurer will pay the RCV hold-back.
Continue Reading No Waving of Deductibles Bill: Texas HB 2102