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.
Sean Shaw will be a great Florida Attorney General. The Miami Herald endorsed Sean this week and noted some of the reasons why he can help so many and change the status quo as Florida’s Attorney General.… Continue Reading
Anita Taff and the entire GAPIA public adjuster Board of Directors should be congratulated for their success. I have the pleasure and the frustration of being in many different geographic areas where public adjuster organizations are having difficulties maintaining cohesiveness within their ranks. This is a relatively new development because just getting organized as a … Continue Reading
Insurance companies spend time training their insurance adjusters. Training is a very important. It sets the tone and culture of how the claims department functions. Training can be ethical and professional as discussed by Ken Brownlee in Insurance Companies Must Perform in Good Faith Regardless of Their Customer’s Imperfect Actions. It can also lead into … Continue Reading
Insurance companies routinely argue for immunity from their wrongful actions because acts of their customers are not perfect following a loss. Policyholders are not claims specialists. Policyholders generally are not in the insurance claims business much less the civil litigation business which the insurance industry is the number one participant by far.… Continue Reading
Flood insurance claims are different than regular property insurance claims because virtually all flood insurance claims have to follow federal regulations. The vast majority of all flood insurance policies are written through the National Flood Program. Even if a private company known as a Write Your Own (WYO) is listed as the insurer on the … Continue Reading
Hurricane Florence insurance claims are the headache that starts after Florence damages your business or home. There is nothing easy about having your property destroyed—either emotionally or financially. It is going to hurt. I and a number of Merlin Law Group lawyers have been doing this work full time for as long as anybody in … Continue Reading
Merlin Law Group attorneys have an advantage over other lawyers and law firms because we invest in and have an in-house attorney Knowledge Manager fka Law Librarian, Ruck DeMinico. Ruck has researched more insurance law issues and public adjuster issues than anybody I know.… Continue Reading
Merlin Law Group phones and my cell phone have been constantly ringing with public adjusters questioning us about North Carolina and South Carolina Insurance claims law. Hurricane Florence is bearing down on those states as I write this post. God bless everybody in the path of this monstrous storm.… Continue Reading
Total loss and constructive total loss concepts in Florida are often confused with automobile total loss situations and exclusions and coverages related to Ordinance or Laws. We recently were asked about building law and ordinances which required a building to be demolished per building codes. The cause of the damage was by a covered peril … Continue Reading
Actual cash value polices should rarely be sold on a typical home. Insurance agents who sell these policies knowing that a mortgage exists are negligent because various federal laws and regulations generally require that negotiable mortgages are to be protected by replacement cost insurance: Property insurance for properties securing loans delivered to Fannie Mae must … Continue Reading
Law360 reported yesterday that State Farm settled a RICO lawsuit against it for $250 Million. I previously have noted this amazing, made-for-movie case in Did State Farm Buy Its Way Out of a Billion Dollar Judgment.… Continue Reading
Merlin Law Group has a new experienced California Insurance attorney, Victor Jacobellis, who is very busy fighting insurance companies like Farmers. Farmers has familiar advertisements showing cute situations where it pays claims. To be honest, it should also advertise and warn its customers how often it denies claims, how its polices are different than other … Continue Reading
Nebraska appraisals are virtually non-existent. The Supreme Court of Nebraska equated an appraisal clause to an arbitration clause, as both serve to “oust” courts of their jurisdiction, and therefore unenforceable.1… Continue Reading
David Stearnett, who is the Flood Insurance Advocate for the National Flood Insurance Program, and Sha Ron James, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, should be congratulated for hosting a free webinar on July 25: Guiding and Educating Insurance Professionals and Consumers about Flood Insurance Needs During a Catastrophe.… Continue Reading
Denied water damage claims are one of the more frequently handled claims by our law firm. The cost to repair these claims can be quite high depending on many factors including the length of time the water leaked, the length of the leak, the nature of the water, and the location of the water leak … Continue Reading
One certain way FEMA and National Flood Administrators get out of paying otherwise valid flood insurance claims is to require strict and timely requirements. Citing an internally generated and fraudulent 99% closure statistic, the National Flood Program denied a request to extend the timeline for filing Proofs of Loss for Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria … Continue Reading
Bill Wilson is paramount educator of Insurance. His latest book, When Words Collide: Resolving Insurance Coverage and Claims Disputes, is an excellent resource all insurance claims experts and professionals should have in their library. I thought so much of it I have ordered the book for each Merlin Law Group attorney.… Continue Reading
One of the most offensive examples of insurance company claims managers losing their ethical way is when they demand that their insureds risk life and limb to immediately investigate their roofs after a hail storm. Most insurance policies require “prompt notice” of loss. But, does the insurance company ever warn its customers they must risk … Continue Reading
Many state statutes and condominium bylaws require the purchase of reasonably available property insurance which covers all direct physical risks of loss on an extended and replacement cost basis. One issue I have heard associations and their insurance agents ask: “Is flood insurance reasonably available” so that it has to be insured.… Continue Reading
The Iowa Supreme Court determined that “appraisers may determine the factual cause of damage to insured property to ascertain the amount of loss,” in Walnut Creek Townhome Association vs Depositors Insurance Company.1 I am proud that Ashley Smith (nka Ashley Harris) was cited by the court for her analysis of the issue.… Continue Reading