Christina Phillips

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Reasonableness of Notice…Is it Fact Specific?

Policy language varies when it comes to how and when an insured is required to give notice of a claim. Some policies have a definitive time frame setting forth when notice must be given, but others use terms such as “prompt,” “immediate” or “as soon as practicable.” When the policy does not provide a definitive … Continue Reading

Matching Endorsement Upheld as Modifying Policy to Exclude Coverage for Undamaged Material

The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals in Noonan v. American Family Mutual Insurance,1 recently upheld that the Minnesota Amendatory Homeowners Endorsement (“Endorsement”) excludes “matching.” The Endorsement provides that an insurer does “not pay to repair or replace undamaged property due to mismatch between damaged material and new material used to repair or replace damaged material.”… Continue Reading

Assessing the “Reasonableness” of Notice

As any contributor on this blog will tell you, the first step in assessing any claim is to read the Policy. Policy language is ever evolving and changing, especially when it comes to notice requirements. The purpose of a notice requirement in an insurance policy is to enable the insurer to make a timely and … Continue Reading

Federal and State Court Split on Procedure for Alleging Bad Faith

Minnesota Statute section 604.18, commonly known as Minnesota’s Bad Faith Law, permits an insured to add a claim to recover taxable costs based on an insurance company’s bad faith denial of policy benefits. The procedure for bringing a claim under section 604.18 differs from most states. Generally, an insured is strictly prohibited from including a … Continue Reading

Insurance Company’s Long Duration of Negotiations and Stalling Tactics Supports Plaintiff’s Claim for “Bad Faith”

Illinois’ solution to an insurance company’s delay, deny and defend tactics is section 155 of the Illinois Insurance Code, which provides an extra-contractual remedy to policyholders whose insurer’s refusal to recognize liability and pay a claim under a policy is vexatious and unreasonable.1 Section 155 of the Code is intended to aid the insured and … Continue Reading

Buyer Beware: Negligence Claims Against Your Agent May Arise On The Day You Get Your Policy!

The Illinois Supreme Court recently overturned the Court of Appeals’ decision in American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Krop, 82 N.E. 3d 533, 2017 IL App (1st) 161071 (Ill. App. 2017). As discussed in my post on June 14, 2017, the Illinois Appellate Court had concluded that the insured’s claim against their agent for negligent … Continue Reading

Jury Permitted to Determine if Misrepresentations by Insured Were Material

In many jurisdictions, for an insurer to carry its burden of proving that coverage is void due to a material misrepresentation, the insurer must prove not only that the misrepresented fact was something that the insurer wanted to know, but that the misrepresentation affected the insurer’s investigation. In other words, that the misrepresentation was material. … Continue Reading

Policy Conditions “Conformity to State Law” May Extend the Period Time to File Suit.

Some insurance policies will contain a clause within the conditions section entitled “Conformity to State Law.” This provision contains language similar to: “Conformity to State Law. When a policy provision is in conflict with the applicable state law of the State in which this policy is issued, the law of the state will apply.”… Continue Reading

Freezing Exclusion – What Does It Really Mean to Use Reasonable Efforts to Maintain Heat in the Building?

Whether residential or commercial, most property coverage policies exclude loss caused by freezing, unless the insured either: Uses reasonable or best efforts to maintain heat in the building; or drains the plumbing lines. Application of this freezing exclusion, however, often turns on interpreting or defining what the terms “reasonable,” “best efforts,” and “building” mean.… Continue Reading

Claim for Statutory Penalty Interest Not Subject to Policy’s Limitation Period

On a matter of first impression, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that an insured’s claim for statutory penalty interest due on an untimely payment was not subject to the policy’s two-year limitation period. In Palmer Park Square, LLC v. Scottsdale Insurance Company,1 the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s conclusion and found … Continue Reading

“Like Kind and Quality” Is an Appraisable Issue

Following a loss, the issue of replacement with “like kind and quality” often arises whether it be with the replacement of personal property or building materials. The phrase “like kind and quality” is typically not defined in an insurance policy, so whether construction is of “like kind and quality” can easily become a dispute. But … Continue Reading

Napa Wine Country Wildfire Town Hall

The recent fires in Napa Valley and Sonoma, California present numerous issues for homeowners and business owners alike when it comes to navigating insurance claims. Questions arise as to what coverages are provided under a given insurance policy, how determinations on what is owed are made, what are the options on rebuilding, loss of income … Continue Reading
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