About half of Washington’s 42.6 million land acres are forested. Nearly 37% are on privately owned land. Many urban areas are heavily forested or near forests. For example, Seward Park in eastern Seattle contains the 120-acre Magnificent Forest. An hour away is the beautiful Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. While Washington has not seen wildfires as destructive as in my home state, California, it seems inevitable.

Continue Reading Dan Veroff Discusses Washington Insurance Law

Insurance companies will no longer be able to write insurance policies which depreciate labor costs when determining actual cash value in Washington. The Washington Insurance Commissioner just made a rule preventing insurance companies from nickeling and diming of their customers by depreciating labor costs. This ruling becomes effective on January 1, 2022.
Continue Reading Can Insurance Companies Depreciate Labor Costs in Washington? Insurance Commissioner Stands Up For Policyholders

(Note: This guest blog is by Liberty Ritchie, a Licensed Legal Intern in our Oklahoma City office)

In Washington State, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) exists to “oversee Washington’s insurance industry…protect consumers, and make sure companies and producers follow the rules.” One of the ways that the OIC does this is by investigating complaints against agents, agencies, and other insurance licensees. According to their website, the office answers questions and investigates complaints of over 100,000 consumers every year.
Continue Reading How to File a Complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner in Washington State

The battle regarding insurance surrogates is being waged in Washington state. Many insurance companies want the Department of Insurance to allow unlicensed non-adjusters determine how much policyholders deserve to be paid. Here is the what the Washington Department of Insurance states is a legislative priority:
Continue Reading Insurance Surrogates and Insurers Delegating Those Duties Do Not Want Surrogates To Be held Accountable For Failing To Provide Honest and Good Faith Treatment In Washington

Many insurance policies have a one-year suit limitation clause, which precludes the policyholder from suing for breach of contract after the one-year period has passed.1 In West Beach Condominium v. Commonwealth Insurance Company (“West Beach”),2 the Court of Appeals of Washington was asked whether under Washington Law an insurance policy one-year suit limitation clause barred extra-contractual claims under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (“IFCA”)3 or Consumer Protection Act (“CPA”).4 The appellate court concluded the one-year suit applicable to breach of contract claims did not bar extra-contractual claims under IFCA or CPA.
Continue Reading Under Washington Law Does A Policy One Year Suit Limitation Clause for Breach of Contract Claims Prevent Extracontractual Claims Under the CPA or IFCA?

Washington State is not only known as the “Evergreen State” and the only state named after a United States President, but it is also the home of many innovative Internet companies and where the biggest coffee chain in the world was founded: Starbucks. Besides these facts it is also important to know how a claim should be handled in Washington.
Continue Reading Claim Handling Requirements by State – Washington

Last month, a Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that individual insurance adjusters may be personally liable for violations of Washington’s bad faith statute, RCW 48.01.030. The court also ruled that adjusters may be personally liable for violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, RCW
Continue Reading Individual Insurance Adjusters in Washington May Be Personally Liable for Statutory Bad Faith As Well As Violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act

The examination under oath (EUO) is a topic often covered in this blog. When an EUO is requested by the insurance company, the policyholder who submitted the claim essentially has no choice but to acquiesce. A failure to do so would be deemed as a failure to cooperate or comply with a condition of the policy and from the insurance company’s perspective, that would be a basis to deny a claim altogether. I have yet to come across an instance where the insurer did not deny a claim due to a policyholder’s refusal to submit to an EUO.

Continue Reading In Washington, an Insurer Cannot Demand an Examination Under Oath Unless it is Material to the Claim Investigation

Last week I blogged about how the recent Willis v. Swain case ruling out of Hawaii, may impact and shape future cases as we move forward full-steam into 2014. Looking back at the past year, it’s also important to mention a ruling from a Washington state court that will be helpful to insureds in efforts to procure bad faith damages. It is well known in the litigation realm that plaintiffs and their attorneys are continually frustrated when trying to obtain discovery of the claim file – only to find numerous redactions in the file during the adjusting period accompanied by a privilege log stating that these communications are attorney-client privilege.

Continue Reading In Washington, There May Be No Attorney-Client Privilege for Insurers During the Adjusting of a Claim