Conflicting policy provisions seem to be an increasing byproduct of the ever-growing number of coverage exclusions and limitations that insurance carriers are sneaking into policies. With the news of an upcoming special legislative session to address insurance premium hikes and rumors of potential changes, the best practice is for homeowners to read their policies and understand what is covered in the event of a loss. The truth is, however, reading a homeowner insurance policy these days seems like a game of “musical policy provisions.”
Continue Reading Ambiguities in Florida Policies: Comprehending Coverage Should Not Require the Proverbial Philadelphia Lawyer

In addition to raising the cost of insurance premiums, insurers appear to be issuing more policies which include “right to repair” provisions. Considering the rising cost of insurance premiums, a policy with a right to repair provision or endorsement might initially seem appealing to homeowners as such policies often come with a “premium discount.” The unfortunate fact is that right to repair provisions and endorsements significantly alter policyholders’ rights under the policy. I wrote recently about how insurance carriers use this “premium discount” against policyholders in my recent post, Right to Repair: How People’s Trust Insurance Company’s Preferred Contractor Endorsement Leaves Policyholders Over a Barrel. My colleague, Anthony Orlando, has also written recently about the unfortunate and oftentimes, unforeseen, effects of right to repair provisions. In his recent post, Right to Repair: The Intersection of the Managed Repair Program and the Faulty Workmanship Exclusion, Anthony discusses how an insurer can use its own preferred contractor’s shoddy work to deny future claims.
Continue Reading Right to Repair: Florida Court Confirms Homeowners’ Right to Pursue a Breach of Contract Action After an Insurer Elects to Repair

For a crash course in right to repair issues, one need only perform a brief search of cases involving People’s Trust Insurance Company (“People’s Trust”). When it comes to policies issued by People’s Trust, there seems to be only one thing that people can trust—a Preferred Contractor Endorsement will be included in exchange for a “premium discount.” For various reasons, the Preferred Contractor Endorsement issued by People’s Trust has been labeled a “trap for many homeowners” (see Beaujeaux de Lapouyade’s blog post, Declaratory Judgment Action May Be Forthcoming If An Insurer Invokes Its Right To Repair). In fact, I challenge Florida homeowners to ask their insurance agent to procure a People’s Trust policy that does not have the Preferred Contractor Endorsement—do not be surprised if your agent cannot find such a policy.
Continue Reading Right to Repair: How People’s Trust Insurance Company’s Preferred Contractor Endorsement Leaves Policyholders Over a Barrel

What are additional living expenses?

Additional living expenses are typically included as a coverage in homeowner property insurance policies under “Loss of Use.” In a recent blog post, Is Your Insurance Company Threatening to Prematurely Terminate Loss of Use Benefits, Merlin Law Group attorney Dan Veroff discussed Loss of Use benefits and what carriers are doing to curtail those benefits prematurely. As stated in that blog post, Loss of Use benefits are intended to cover the cost of temporary placement when the insured premises suffers a covered loss that renders it unusable until repaired.
Continue Reading Additional Living Expenses: What Does Your Policy Cover and For How Long?

Whether it is referred to as a “fraudulent insurance act” or just plain “insurance fraud,” each state prohibits certain acts or omissions that it considers fraudulent. In Georgia, the legislature has enacted Ga. Code § 33-1-16, which defines what it considers to be a “fraudulent insurance act.” In addition, Ga. Code § 33-1-16 imposes varying degrees of reporting requirements on those who have knowledge of a fraudulent insurance act being committed
Continue Reading Reporting Fraudulent Insurance Acts in Georgia: Is There a Requirement to Report?

Although there are many factors that may affect coverage for flood claims under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”) forms, coverage issues typically fall into two categories: 1) is the property for which a claim is being made considered “covered property” under the policy; and 2) has there been “direct physical loss by or from flood.
Continue Reading Flood Claims – Understanding What Constitutes a Covered Loss in a Standard Flood Insurance Policy