Christina Phillips

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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

An Appraiser Can Favor One Side More than the Other and Still Be Impartial

The typical appraisal provision in an insurance policy requires that each party select a competent and impartial appraiser. However, what impartial means is usually undefined in the policy. Does advocacy on behalf of your appointed party mean you are not impartial? That question was recently addressed by the Colorado Court of Appeals in Owners Ins. … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Agrees: Pre-Award Interest on Appraisal Award is Appropriate

I recently wrote about the case of Poehler v. Cincinnait Insurance Company,1 in which the Minnesota Supreme Court recently held that Minnesota Statute section 549.09 provides for pre-interest on insurance appraisal awards. Following this decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Redwood Falls v. Housing Authority Property Insurance,2 similarly … Continue Reading

Action Against Broker Is Time Barred — Insured Knew or Should Have Known of Deficient Policy Limits Upon Receipt of Insurance Policy

Upon notice that an insurer will no longer insure a specific risk, insureds often call their broker or agent and request they obtain the insurance from another carrier with the same or similar coverages relative to the cancelled policy. Assuming the agent or broker did so, many insureds may not review or read their new … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Kentucky Holds “Substantial Impairment” Is Not Collapse

Insurance policies are all different. Some policies include a definition of the word “collapse” and some do not. The Kentucky Supreme Court in Thiele v. Kentucky Growers Ins. Co., 2017 WL 2598494 (Ky. June 15, 2017), recently addressed whether termite infestation and damage which caused substantial damage was covered under the policy’s collapse provision.… Continue Reading

Does an Insurer Have the Right to Raise a Defense in Litigation If Not a Basis For Its Denial?

The Appellate Court in New York recently reversed the trial court’s finding in favor of the insured which had concluded the vandalism exclusion did not apply to the loss.1 The insured owned certain real property which it was renovating and using as rental property. It was admitted the property had been vacant and unoccupied for … Continue Reading

“American Rule” Abolished in Oklahoma

Most states follow the “American Rule” when it comes to litigation. In other words, absent a specific statute or contractual provision to the contrary, each party pays their own legal costs and fees. However, the Oklahoma legislature passed, and on May 10, 2017, the governor signed into law, a bill which, in essence, abolished the … Continue Reading

Payment of an Appraisal Award Does Not Foreclose Insured’s Claim for Vexatious and Unreasonable Conduct in Illinois

Often an insurer will assert that their payment of an appraisal award has satisfied their obligation under the policy such that an action for “bad faith” cannot be brought. An insurer recently raised this issue in a motion to dismiss against our client arguing that the insured’s right to bring a claim for damages under … Continue Reading

Protective Safeguard Endorsements – Think Twice Before Turning Off Your Automatic Sprinkler System

Many commercial property insurance policies contain protective safeguard endorsements, which make it a condition of coverage that the protective safeguard cited in the endorsement—e.g., automatic sprinkler system, night watchman, central station fire alarm—be in operation at all times. But what happens if you disable the system and suffer a loss—is there coverage? This situation was … Continue Reading

Costs to Repair or Replace Defective Construction Excluded Under Commercial General Liability Policy

Often a homeowner’s damages are not the result of a storm event, but rather the result of defective construction. In such situations, the homeowner will often pursue an action against the general contractor or subcontractor for various claims, such as negligence or breach of implied warranty of habitability. Ultimately, the question becomes whether the contractor … Continue Reading

You’re Invited – American Bar Association Property Law Insurance Committee’s Spring CLE

Have you ever wondered about when an insurer is obligated to issue payment for a covered loss, or what the necessary conditions are to trigger that obligation? What about the considerations, pros and cons, of submitting a proof of loss? Or how insureds can effectively use coverage extensions, additional coverages and sublimit in their claims?… Continue Reading

Does a Partial Denial and Jury Demand Prohibit the Insurer From Proceeding with Appraisal?

It happens frequently: The insurance company admits the policy covered part of the loss but refuses payment at the time because the amount of the loss falls below the deductible. The insurer then admits the insured also suffered other damages to the property, but denies coverage for this damage for a variety of exclusions or … Continue Reading
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