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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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

Why Do Insurance Companies Make Fun of Their Customers’ Suffering and Disasters?

Insurance educator Bill Wilson has now written two articles challenging the insurance industry about why it makes fun of its customers’ suffering and disasters. In What’s So Funny? and, Again I Ask, What’s So Funny? Wilson challenges his industry: Our industry exists to assist individuals, families, and organizations in identifying and insuring their loss exposures … Continue Reading

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
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