Chip Merlin

Chip Merlin 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.

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Can My Insurance Company Deduct Labor Costs When I Have A Replacement Cost Policy? What Allstate Does Not Say In Its Ads

Can you imagine Allstate Insurance Company running an advertisement explaining that it tries to deduct labor costs as depreciable items when you make a homeowners claim? Allstate runs television ads trying to warn against “cheap” insurance but fails to disclose that it instructs its claims adjusters to cheapen its insurance product when it comes to … Continue Reading

Surplus Lines Carriers Select Arbitration and Choice of Law in New York to Pay Less Coverage and Less on Claims

A Florida based insurance agent educator asked me for my thoughts about how arbitration clauses harm policyholders and provide less coverage. He was referencing my earlier post this week, Arbitration Clause Requiring New York Law and New York Arbitration Cited as Avoidance of Florida Lawsuit—Another Instance of Surplus Lines Insurer Abuse in Florida.… Continue Reading

Getting the Xactimate Construction Price Right!

Xactimate construction price expert Steve Shannon told me that Merlin Law Group should make a seminar called, The Price is Right! I was listening to him and OSHA expert witness, Kevin Dandridge, discuss various issues of construction worker and site safety and where those costs should show up in insurance claim estimates.… Continue Reading

Arbitration Clause Requiring New York Law and New York Arbitration Cited as Avoidance of Florida Lawsuit—Another Instance of Surplus Lines Insurer Abuse in Florida

Insurance Law360 is part of my daily reading and it tipped me off to a case which raises the same problem about arbitration, I noted in Should Insurance Agents Get Sued for Selling Insurance Which Requires Arbitration in a Far Away Location and Deprives Their Customers of Consumer Protection Laws? and Arbitration Is an Increasing … Continue Reading

Florida Investigative Report Highlights Florida Legislators Taking Away Policyholder Protections

Reporter Steve Andrews ran a televised story highlighting that some Florida legislators are listening to insurance company lawyers and lobbyists rather than taking care of their constituents in Consumers Would Take Hit If Insurance Lobby Gets Its Way, and Change in Insurance Law Would Take Away Consumers’ Day in Court. The story references Florida House … Continue Reading

Insurance Regulation and the Attack on Admitted Insurance Carriers in Florida

Insurance regulation is important. Unlike other commercial products, insurance is a product that serves the public trust. Without regulation, history has proven that insurers cannot control themselves. They go broke just when we need them the most and their claims practices, if unchecked, can be atrocious. States with a strong admitted marketplace should be encouraged. … Continue Reading

The Protection Gap in Property Insurance—Why Nobody Should Buy Farmers Smart Plan Insurance

Gaps in Insurance coverage are an increasingly significant issue. The Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility and the Rutgers Law School will hold a conference on The Protection Gap in Property Insurance, on Friday, March 29. This conference will address the protection gap in residential and commercial property losses and related types of losses in the … Continue Reading

United Policyholders Warns Floridians About Bad Proposed Insurance Laws

Amy Bach is on the side of angels when it comes to fighting for policyholder rights. She is the Executive Director of United Policyholders which is the nation’s largest not for profit advocacy. She and her staff have spent considerable time in Florida educating the public and Florida lawmakers about insurance and sound public policy … Continue Reading

How to Stop Delay, Deny, Defend

Rutgers insurance law professor Jay Feinman wrote a book, Delay Deny Defend: Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims and What You Can Do About It, which exposed many insurance company unfair claims practices. In the last chapter of the book, he discussed how we can stop insurance claim wrongful delays and denials.… Continue Reading

Grand Opening of Merlin Law Group’s Oklahoma City Office

The South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce gave Merlin Law Group a wonderful ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the Grand Opening of our new Oklahoma City Office. Drew Houghton, Larry Bache and I were thrilled by the outpouring of wishes for success. I am certain that insurance companies delaying, denying and underpaying Oklahoma claims are not … Continue Reading

Delays, Denials and Underpayments Occur When Insurance Companies Are Not Held Accountable—-What Are Florida Legislators Thinking?

Florida legislators have introduced legislation allowing insurance companies to delay, deny, and underpay Floridians’ insurance claims without accountability. National Flood insurance has no such good faith standards nor accountability and the above news story shows how Floridians can be expected to be treated if the Florida legislature passes anti-consumer laws eliminating protections that have been … Continue Reading

Reasonable Cost to Repair and More Thoughts from Win The Storm

The battles and debates about insurance restoration pricing and reasonable costs were hotly discussed at the Win The Storm Conference. Merlin Law Group set up a sofa next to our booth and more than two dozen contractors, public adjusters, attorneys, and construction suppliers had at least 15-minute conversations with me about pricing and other topics. … Continue Reading

Estimating a Reasonable Construction Price—Thoughts Following the Win The Storm Conference

The Win The Storm Conference was a very different and thought provoking conference because contractors and roofers involved in the insurance restoration and construction industry were the target attendees. Steve Badger, who was a speaker and observer for the insurance industry, mentioned that this was not a typical insurance conference because most of the attendees … Continue Reading

Restoration Contractors Providing Great Quality Workmanship Are Policyholder Friends But Many Insurance Companies Refuse To Pay For Quality

Contractors often tell me and other Merlin Law Group attorneys of the crazy excuses and refusals insurance adjusters give to avoid paying for required construction materials, processes, and practices which constitute quality workmanship. Cheap and non-quality construction is easy to do and often overlooked by policyholders completely unfamiliar with the detailed specifications demanded by manufacturers … Continue Reading

For The Policyholder! Merlin Law Group’s Kelly Kubiak Testifies Before The Florida Legislature

Insurance company lawyers and lobbyists are a crafty crew. Kelly Kubiak got word from me after I learned late Tuesday afternoon that Florida legislators needed to hear from her early Wednesday morning regarding a proposed law that would let delaying, denying and wrongful acting insurance companies obtain a “get out of free jail card” so … Continue Reading
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