When a National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) insured is not satisfied with the payment for flood-related losses, the NFIP insured is directed to three options:1

  1. The NFIP insured may file an appeal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) within 60 days of the NFIP insurer’s written denial or partial denial of the requested claim amount.2
  2. The NFIP insured can invoke the Appraisal Provision of her policy. NOTE: The NFIP insured may not file option one above, the appeal with FEMA, if the Appraisal Provision is invoked.
  3. The NFIP insured may file a lawsuit within one year of the date of the written denial of all or part of the NFIP insured’s claim. NOTE: The filing of a lawsuit precludes option one, the appeal, and option two, the appraisal process, as those are considered pre-litigation administrative remedies.
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Rep. Sean Shaw
Rep. Sean Shaw

House Bill 911, effective January 1, 2018, was filed by Representative Sean Shaw and enacted by the Florida Legislature to amend Fla. Stat. § 626.854, which protects policyholders through the regulation of public adjusters. Chip Merlin discussed this new law in detail in his post on July 2, 2017. In requiring public adjusters to be licensed by the State of Florida and defining the scope of their services, the Florida Legislature also excluded the growing practice of unlicensed public adjusting and the unauthorized practice of law. By defining what a licensed public adjuster can do for policyholders, the amended law notifies contractors, vendors, accountants, and others known after a catastrophe to unlawfully solicit business to act in the scope of a public adjuster. One service to policyholders that was recently questioned was whether an appraiser is required to be licensed in Florida. In the answer to this question, many others will find the answer to other services related to public adjusters, which do require a license.
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The widespread devastation of Hurricane Florence brought to a recent discussion the question of whether assignment of benefits contracts for property insurance proceeds are enforceable in North Carolina. This is a great question. In a general setting, vendors, services providers and contractors begin their work with a down payment and receive additional payments as work progresses, with many jurisdictions recognizing a contractor’s lien or service lien against the benefactor if they are not paid in full.
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On August 17, 2018, the 49th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, the benchmark in Mississippi for devastation and survivability prior to the impact of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Mississippi Insurance Department (“MID”) filed its adoption of Rule 34.11 to amend the Mississippi Homeowner Insurance Policyholder Bill of Rights (“Policyholder Bill of Rights”) to include an Outline of Coverage and Comprehensive Policyholder Checklist.1
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Since Superstorm Sandy, many of our New Jersey condominium associations clients and others are working closely with their brokers these days to review the terms of attachment for their excess insurance coverage policies. The current trend we see in the trigger language for excess insurance policies is designed to circumvent the established majority rule1 first articulated in 1928 in Zeig v. Massachusetts Bonding & Insurance Company,2 which allowed an insured to fill the gap between a settlement amount and an insurer’s policy limits.
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The principle that once you give something, you can’t ask for it back has been deeply ingrained since childhood. It is born from the idea that when you give, you give freely and without obligation. Like many playground rules, the principle has worked its way into law. The Voluntary Payment Doctrine (VPD) made its first appearance in civil law in the English case of Bilbie v. Lumley holding “that the money having been paid with full knowledge, or with full means of knowledge of all the circumstances could not now be recovered back again.”1
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Navigating the Mighty Mississippi and the English language have quite a bit in common. Sometimes it takes a lot of skill and creativity to get where you want to go. Due to a recent dispute in Continental Insurance Co. v. L&L Marine Transportation, Inc.,1 regarding the meaning of the undefined policy term “tow” and the creative approach to “plain or technical meaning” interpretation, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”) was presented with the opportunity to revisit well-established principles of general contract interpretation.
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Beginning on August 9, 2016 and lasting through August 31, 2016, numerous parishes in Southeast Louisiana1 experienced prolonged, torrential rainfall and flooding. By the end of the days-long Great Flood event of 2016, several states were included in disaster declarations due to the same weather system. Though flooding to this extent is usually associated with a hurricane or tropical storm, this one was not. Regardless, flood damage is often covered by a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) issued through National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) fiscal agents known as Write Your Own (WYO) companies or by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) directly through an NFIP Direct Servicing Agent (Direct). The NFIP is provided under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, amended (NFIA)2 and the SFIP is regulated under 44 C.F.R. §§ 61 and 62.
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