Since 1983, Chip Merlin has served as a plaintiff’s attorney with a focus on commercial & residential property insurance claim disputes and bad faith insurance litigation. Chip is a noted national authority on insurance bad faith, lecturing to national trade groups and publishing a number of papers and articles on the subject for organizations such as The American Association for Justice, The Florida Justice Association, The Windstorm Insurance Network, and Trial Magazine.
As founder and president of Merlin Law Group, Chip has dedicated his practice to the representation and advocacy of insurance policyholders in disputes with insurance companies nationwide.
Chip served as Chair for the Bad Faith Insurance Litigation Group and Secretary for the Fire and Property Insurance Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). He was also Vice-Chair for the Subcommittee on Property Insurance Law for the American Bar Association.
Insurance companies are supposed to have insurance adjusters that are empathetic, professional and ethical when dealing with policyholders and claimants. The first chapter in the insurance treatise, Claims Handling Principles and Practices, has multiple lessons about these obligations. Claims adjusters should not make policyholders scream out of frustration about the service you receive.… Continue Reading
The Tampa Bay Times ran an excellent story, Hurricane Michael Destroyed Their Homes Then The Insurance Heartache Began, which tells a sad but familiar theme about insurance company denials and delayed payments following hurricane losses. I was quoted in the piece: Chip Merlin, a Tampa insurance lawyer, said the same conflict happened in the last … Continue Reading
Rene Sigman of Merlin Law Group’s Houston office was getting some pretty good results for clients this week when she sent me a Texas Supreme Court appraisal case which makes delaying insurers more accountable for inaccurate or plain wrongful estimates of the benefits owed to policyholders. All this Texas good news had me thinking “Yippee-Yi-Yo-Ki-Yay!”… Continue Reading
Assignment of benefits contracts for property damage claims may be going the way of the dinosaur in Florida. A recent Florida Insurance Bulletin notes that the new statute allows insurance companies to issue policies preventing an assignment of benefits if insurers offer a premium discount.… Continue Reading
The best insurance lawyers are students of the insurance industry rather than just students of insurance law. I learned this truth from insurance claims expert Gary Fye and the late Eugene Anderson. Let me paraphrase what Anderson used to tell me, ‘for the same reason doctors don’t learn medicine by reading medical malpractice case law, … Continue Reading
Mike Duffy, Ed Eshoo, and Christina Phillips head up Merlin Law Group’s Chicago office. As far as I am concerned, they are the best insurance lawyers in Chicago, and we are very lucky to have them hitching their stars to the Merlin Law Group wagon.… Continue Reading
Excess insurance policies are often written to follow form, but then an excess carrier may issue a policy that does not follow the bid upon form. Insurance agents and excess lines brokers can certainly do a much better job at the point of sale by reading the policies they sell and broker so the insurance … Continue Reading
The San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association is the largest and oldest Association of consumer attorneys in the San Francisco Bay area. Every year they honor a member as the Trial Lawyer of The Year, the Judge of The Year, and a New Lawyer of the Year. The Association’s past presidents include some of the best … Continue Reading
Victor Jacobellis left his job in San Francisco representing insurance companies to join Merlin Law Group and help policyholders obtain insurance coverage benefits. He asked me to speak with him about exceptions to exclusions of coverage which are often overlooked and lead to wrongful denials of coverage. The photo above shows yours truly speaking with Victor … Continue Reading
Derek Chaiken is in the Merlin Law Group Los Angeles office. He is a Los Angeles Dodger fan and a student of drone usage during the property insurance claim process. Drones are no longer science fiction, but a fairly common part of modern property insurance claims adjustment. With stronger cameras and other advanced technical measuring … Continue Reading
The Colorado Department of Insurance will not be repealing its longstanding bulletin requiring that contractor overhead and profit be a part of a calculation to determine actual cash value at tomorrow’s stakeholder meeting in Denver. This is fantastic news for all Policyholders and the correct decision by those dealing with this issue in the Colorado … Continue Reading
The recent blog post, My House Has Suffered Water Damage, Am I Covered? suggested to hire a licensed public adjuster, or an attorney if the claim was denied, to help you with a water loss claim. This led me to question, “how anybody would find a quality public adjuster or attorney?” The common answer in today’s … Continue Reading
“Oh, Boy!” was my first thought after reading a case which holds that those arbitration agreements requiring policyholders to arbitrate in far-away places could not be stopped by state law. Congress should stop this, and state legislators should write laws to ban those insurance carriers who sell such policies.… Continue Reading
I had barely finished my speech with Nicole Vinson at the Georgia Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (GAPIA) Spring Conference this morning when news broke that Jim Beck, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner had been indicted in a 38-count criminal complaint for a fraudulent scheme involving insurance inspections and invoices. It alleged that Beck, a former insurance company … Continue Reading
Rhode Island appraisals are treated very similar to Florida appraisals. The general rule is that unless the claim is denied for coverage, the parties must go to appraisal if it is demanded. Insurers seeking to avoid appraisal need to specifically indicate why the dispute is subject to a coverage denial and must be litigated.… Continue Reading
Named Windstorm deductibles are fairly common in areas prone to hurricanes. Instead of a policyholder being responsible for deductibles which can regularly rise to several thousand dollars, in the event of a named storm, which tropical storms and hurricanes become, a higher Named Windstorm Deductible applies and usually results in a very high deductible. Many … Continue Reading
My weekend reading found me with a recently purchased 1953 2d Edition of Property Insurance Adjusting. The reading worked pretty well for my unplanned recovery of sleep deprivation during the work week. The publication listed a bibliography with a number of General Adjustment Bureau manuals. Being the nerdy collector of insurance lore, I started a … Continue Reading
The Georgia Association of Public Insurance Adjusters will hold its Spring Meeting on May 14 in Atlanta. GAPIA is one of the hardest working public adjuster associations I have ever been associated with. Unfortunately, we will be without Foy Taff of Taff Claims Service.… Continue Reading
The Colorado Division of Insurance will hold a public stakeholder meeting at the Colorado Division of Insurance in Denver on May 21, 2019, regarding its proposal to eliminate one of its long-standing bulletins requiring insurance companies to pay contractor overhead and profit rather than deduct the amount until incurred.1 We discussed this in Colorado Overhead … Continue Reading
Mark Houser recently visited our firm. We had an interesting discussion about the state of affairs with public adjuster training and education. We also discussed how his association, Property Adjustment National Association was faring.… Continue Reading
The Michigan Director of Insurance recently issued the following bulletin: MICHIGAN INSURANCE BULLETINS AND RELATED MATERIALS BULLETINS Bulletin 2019-07-INS April 17, 2019 FROM: Anita G. Fox Director Of Insurance DATE: April 17, 2019 RE: RESIDENTIAL PUBLIC ADJUSTER CONTRACT This bulletin supersedes Bulletin 2018-22-INS, dated November 20, 2018. The Director has approved a new residential public … Continue Reading