The Merlin Law Group is often approached by individuals wishing to make insurance claims on policies where they are not the named insured. These are typically shareholders or members of a corporate insured seeking to make claims for bad faith or emotional damages due to an insurer’s denial of benefits. A recent unpublished case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit shed light on which parties have the right to make a claim or sue on a commercial insurance policy.

Continue Reading Who Has a Right to Sue the Insurance Company? A Recent Case Suggests Standing Requires a Policyholder or the Holder of a Valid Assignment

Whenever homeowners and business owners contact the Merlin Law Group’s Los Angeles office about selecting a new insurer, I always remind them that the doctrine of uberrimae fidei imposes a duty of utmost good faith to tell the truth when they fill out their new insurance policy application. This is especially important for potential insureds who have a claim history. If you fail to disclose material information when directly asked in the application, be prepared to swallow the insurance company’s Jagged Little Pill.
Continue Reading You Oughta Know – Insurer Fails to Create New Standard for Application Disclosures in California

When the news of Tom Brady’s retirement spread in late January, eBay reported that its site saw a 198% increase in Tom Brady collectible sales. User searches for Brady rookie cards increased 273% as sports fans and collectors sought to get their hands on a “piece” of Brady as investments or collectibles.
Continue Reading Is My $2.3 Million Tom Brady Rookie Card Covered by My Homeowners Insurance Policy?

When a tree fell on Nazila and Bijan Neman’s home and pool in July 2019, they had no idea that they would end up in trial with their homeowners insurance carrier State Farm two years later. They were shocked in August 2021 when a federal jury awarded them not only damages for the full amount to fix their home for $446,950.46 and their attorney’s fees, but also that the jury found State Farm acted with malice, oppression, and fraud during the investigation and adjustment of the claim. For this conduct, the jury awarded the Nemans $5,000,000.00 in punitive damages.
Continue Reading Another Punitive Damages Award Struck Down by a California Court

Last week, I blogged about how California’s Department of Insurance issued a one-year moratorium to insurance companies to stop their practice of non-renewing and cancelling homeowner’s insurance coverage for policyholders living near major wildfires.1 But what if your carrier sent you a cancellation just prior to the moratorium – does the moratorium apply retroactively to restore your coverage?
Continue Reading Is California’s Moratorium on Insurance Policy Non-Renewals or Cancellations Retroactive?

For the third year in a row, California’s Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a moratorium against homeowner insurer non-renewals for certain policies issues for residential properties located in zip codes or adjacent to zip codes that are enduring devastating wildfires.
Continue Reading California Protects Homeowners from Cancellations Due to Wildfires

In California, insurance carriers seeking to avoid allegations of committing bad faith, whether in litigation or not, will often ask insureds if they are willing to enter into “White waiver” agreements. The purpose of such an agreement is to allow an insurance carrier to make offers of settlement without fear of the amount of the settlement being used as evidence against the carrier for bad faith, if the perceived amount of the settlement offer is too low.
Continue Reading Should Policyholders Sign a “White Waiver” Agreement?

It can be hard enough for policyholders to get paid by their property insurance companies, but what happens when the mortgage company takes the money and holds the float?
Continue Reading Legislatures and Congress Need to Control Banks and Servicing Companies Holding Property Loss Checks and Not Paying Interest on the Float

Even though California was running below its seasonal average for precipitation, a set of winter storms hit the state this week. California’s Department of Insurance (“CDOI”) timely released a Notice to all property and casualty insurance carriers who provide homeowners and commercial property insurance to California consumers about their obligations to cover mudslide events, specifically in areas recently impacted by wildfires.
Continue Reading California Department of Insurance Reminds Carriers to Cover Mudslides Following Wildfires

New laws enacted last month provide further support for California wildfire claimants by requiring carriers provide additional coverages. Only a few years ago, California enacted laws requiring insurers to provide coverage for Additional Living Expenses (ALE) incurred due to a covered loss relating to a state of emergency – almost every massive wildfire – for a period of no less than 24 months. (California Insurance Code Section 2060(b)(1).)
Continue Reading New California Law Require Insurers to Pay Up to 36 Months of Additional Living Expenses and Advance at Least Four Months of Payments Following Wildfires