Virtually every property insurance policy has a specific section regarding the post-loss obligations of the insured. Whether it be expressly stated in its own policy provision or implied from the wording of other post-loss obligation provisions, it is almost universally agreed that an insured has a duty to mitigate their damages after a loss.
Continue Reading Conflicting Policy Provisions Regarding the Duty to Mitigate in Business Interruption Claims

This past week Merlin Law Group attorneys, Amy Currotto and I, had the pleasure of participating in the American Bar Association’s two-day webinar titled “COVID 19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters.” As was described in my previous blog post, the online conference allowed property insurance attorneys from many different backgrounds to review and discuss key coverage issues, as well as provide listeners with the insight and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of COVID-19 business interruption litigation.
Continue Reading COVID-19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters – A Discussion with John Garaffa on the Decisions and Rationale of Recent Business Interruption Cases

Beginning today, June 2, 2021, and continuing on June 3rd, the American Bar Association will host attorneys for policyholders and insurance companies who will break down what to expect in future policy provisions as a result of Covid-19 claims and decisions. This two-day webinar will review key coverage issues and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of Covid-19 business interruption litigation. I have the pleasure of participating in this webinar as a member of the panel. On June 3rd, my colleague and fellow Merlin Law Group attorney, Amy Currotto, will be speaking on New Policy Provisions and What to Expect.
Continue Reading Sneak Peek at the American Bar Association Live Webinar: COVID 19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters – How Do Basic Contract Interpretation Principles Tie into the Latest Court Decisions and Rationale?

Most commercial property owners pay hefty premiums in return for commercial property insurance, often times in the form of an “all-risk” insurance policy. “All-risk” policies provide coverage for all covered losses unless otherwise expressly excluded by the insurer in the policy.
Continue Reading “In the Course of Construction” and Ambiguous “Builder’s Risk” Policy Provisions

As the United States battle vs. COVID-19 rages on, the battle within the (albeit virtual) court rooms are just starting to take off. Courts across the country are faced with the ultimate question: whether the widespread presence of the COVID-19 virus and resulting governmental closure orders constitute a fortuitous loss causing direct physical loss to insured property owners’ properties.
Continue Reading Ambiguities in Civil Authority Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Business Losses: “Prohibiting,” “Preventing,” “Denying” – What is the Difference?

In one of my recent blog posts, Interpreting the Plain and Ordinary Meaning of an Ordinance or Law Insurance Provision; What Does it Mean to “Incur” and When Does this Happen, I discussed when a policyholder is deemed to have “incurred” ordinance or law damage necessary to trigger coverage under the provision in their Florida insurance policy.
Continue Reading Commercial Property Insurance Policies and Triggering of Replacement Cost Value Damages

Many people think the declarations page and subsequent coverage and exclusion sections make up the important part of an insurance policy. However, add-on forms known as “endorsements” or “riders” may be just as important as they have the ability to significantly change the policy, depending on their language. For example, an endorsement to an insurance contract can add, remove, or change the coverage in the policy. While these pages often come at the end of the contract, they should be read in conjunction with the declarations page and the entirety of the policy.
Continue Reading Reading the Fine Print of Add-On Forms in Policies – Catastrophe Area Notice Limitations and More

A hybrid witness is a fact witness who also happens to have the requisite knowledge, skill, or expertise to provide opinion testimony and whose opinion is formed as a result of the witness’ involvement in the subject events.1
Continue Reading The Best of Both Worlds! Join me on Friday at 2 for a Brief Presentation on Hybrid Expert Witnesses

In the legal world, there are generally two types of witnesses that you will see: (1) fact witnesses and (2) expert witnesses. Well, technically there are three, if you count hybrid witnesses. These types of witnesses serve both factual and expert purposes.
Continue Reading Are Public Adjusters, Restoration Contractors and Other On Scene Experts Hybrid Expert Witnesses? What Rules Apply To Them?

This installment of my blog series goes hand-in-hand with my last blog post, When Words Collide: Insurance Policies as Contracts of Adhesion. Whereas the last post discussed the idea of an insurance policy as a contract of adhesion, meaning that insurers usually have much higher bargaining power in the parties’ contractual relationship, this blogpost dives a bit more into the overall “purpose” of insurance.
Continue Reading When Words Collide: The Golden Rule – The Purpose of Insurance is to… Insure