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. Read More...

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Colorado Not Replacing Contractor Overhead and Profit Bulletin

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

Am I Covered For Water Loss To My Home? Don’t Trust Advertising Lawyers and Find Quality Professionals To Help If Your Insurer Says “No” To Coverage

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

Arbitration Provision In Insurance Policy Applies Because Federal Arbitration Act Supersedes State Law Making Such Clauses Illegal

“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

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Indicted By Federal Government For Fraudulent Insurance Scheme

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

Why Do I Have To Pay A Large Named Windstorm Deductible? Confusion With Named Windstorm Deductibles Versus Flood Deductibles In Hurricane Scenarios

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

How To Adjust Actual Cash Value and Overhead and Profit in Colorado—Colorado To Hold Public Forum For Comments

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

Interesting Public Adjuster Contract Required By Michigan Director of Insurance

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

Are There Ethical Conduct Standards Between Public Adjusters and Independent or Company Adjusters?

An excellent and successful insurance company defense attorney, Bill Berk and I were on a panel presentation at the 2019 Windstorm Insurance Conference earlier this year. Berk reminded the audience of adjusters that under Florida law, they should not be saying or implying bad things about each other. He noted this Florida regulation: A public … Continue Reading

Safe Construction Worksite Inspections to Increase—Include OSHA Costs to Residential Insurance Estimates

A contractor sent me a note from the National Roofing Contractors Association which indicates that the Trump administration is increasing the manpower of safety inspectors and whistleblower investigators regarding construction worksite safety. The note was based on an article, Labor Secretary: OSHA Jobsite inspections Likely to Increase, which stated: • In a written statement to … Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael Victims Should Not Be Shaken Down By Unlicensed Contractors Selling AOB’s To Third-Party Crooks

A public adjuster alerted me to a Hurricane Michael policyholder being “shaken down” by a third party who allegedly purchased an AOB from an unlicensed contractor. What makes it worse is that the policyholder is being confronted by the third party and a person holding himself out to be an attorney.… Continue Reading

Explaining Xactimate Accuracy and the Need to Analyze Details Before Getting the Wrong Turkey Dinner From the Insurance Company Estimator

Insurance estimating expert Jeff Major gave one of the best speeches about Xactimate I have ever seen at the First Party Claims Conference West. I have seen Jeff give a number of presentations over the years, even teaching federal judges, magistrates, and mediators following Superstorm Sandy. But his warning about getting an insurance company’s “turkey … Continue Reading

Understanding Commercial and Residential Ordinance and Law Coverage as Explained by Christopher Boggs

Ordinance and Law Coverage generates a lot of questions whenever I give a speech about the numerous building codes which impact construction. Christopher Boggs is a great insurance educator. Two chapters from his book, Wow! I Never Knew That!: 12 of the Most Misunderstood and Misused P&C Insurance Coverages, Concepts and Exclusions, provide some of the … Continue Reading
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