On April 28, 2021, policyholders in Norman, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas were rocked by a catastrophic hailstorm with baseball size hail and 70 mph winds resulting in more than $1 billion in damages. As many of our blog readers may know, I was one of those policyholders. While I am fortunate to report State Farm has paid my claim in full and all my restoration work has been completed, many policyholders cannot say the same. With supply chain issues and market pricing increases, many Norman policyholders are still waiting on roofs and windows, which keeps their claims open. Others are still fighting over their scope of damages or proper costs for repair/replacement. Regardless of what aspect of their claim remains unresolved, with the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic hailstorm coming up, they now face the possibility of having to timely file a lawsuit by April 28, 2022. Failure to do so may result in a waiver of policy benefits they are otherwise entitled to. How could this happen?
Continue Reading A Warning for Norman, Oklahoma Policyholders on the One-Year Anniversary of the April 28, 2021, Catastrophic Hailstorm

There is little doubt the first-party property loss industry is ever-changing. Each year policyholders, contractors, mitigation specialists, public adjusters, and attorneys must adapt and pivot to changes that are strategically launched by the insurance industry. This statement isn’t intended to sound cloak and dagger – it’s just true. In fact, it is common knowledge insurance carriers pay millions of dollars per year to think tank consulting companies like McKinsey & Co., Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, and Bain & Co., who evaluate claims processes and suggest company-wide strategic initiatives for cost-saving purposes under the guise of improving customer service.
Continue Reading “One Industry One Model” – One Question … Does it Work?

What does it mean to be a Policyholder’s Advocate™? At Merlin Law Group, it means not only direct representation of policyholders whose claims have been delayed, denied, or underpaid, but also assistance through education, training, and community sharing that indirectly benefits policyholders. To accomplish the latter, Merlin Law Group is proud to sponsor events that indirectly assist policyholders by improving the insurance restoration industry. In other words, help those who help policyholders. To this end, Merlin Law Group is proud to continue our sponsorship of April Hall’s Storm Restoration Contractor Summit (“SRC Summit”) in 2022. As The Policyholder’s Advocate™, we support general contractors and the work they do for policyholders recovering from a storm or catastrophe.
Continue Reading Do Not Miss April Hall’s Storm Restoration Contractor Summit on January 21-23

Since 1999, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (“OID”) has provided free mediation services for policyholders who find themselves at odds with their insurance company.1 The program is called “E.A.G.L.E. Mediation,” which stands for “Ending Arguments Gently, Legally, and Economically.” Per the OID website, E.A.G.L.E.’s purpose is to “reduc[e] the amount of litigation that ultimately costs policyholders money” by helping “citizens and insurance companies settle disputes early enough to avoid becoming embroiled in lawsuits.”2
Continue Reading Does Oklahoma EAGLE Mediation Help Policyholders?

April Hall with Storm Consultants, LLC, & the Storm Restoration Contractor Summit (SRC Summit) joined Chip Merlin on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming SRC Summit event she is hosting in Frisco, Texas, on January 23rd – 25th. As many of you that follow our blog know, it is common this time of year for industry seminars and events to take place around the country. However, due to COVID, this year is quite different and the SRC Summit is the only in-person industry conference happening in the first quarter of 2021 that I am aware of. April Hall advises there are attendees coming from 29 states to attend the Summit, so there is going to be a great turnout.
Continue Reading Storm Restoration Leaders Gather at SRC Summit on January 23rd-25th

Like the Oklahoma Sooners took care of the Florida Gators in the Cotton Bowl (55-20), the Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a commanding opinion on December 15, 2020, confirming assignments of claims are valid and enforceable in Oklahoma. In fact, the Oklahoma Supreme Court almost seemed surprised it was even a question when it reversed the trial court’s erroneous grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurance company against a construction company.
Continue Reading Oklahoma Confirms Assignment of Claims Are Valid

Oklahoma insurance law recognizes that insurance companies have a good faith duty to their customers. Merlin Law Group attorneys in Oklahoma work on what are called “bad faith” cases all the time. These cases should be called “lack of good faith” cases because there is no proof requirement that somebody was bad–just that they were not acting in the utmost of good faith and fair dealing.
Continue Reading Wrongful Denial or Delay by Your Insurance Company in Oklahoma? Insurance Companies Have Good Faith Obligations and Can Be Held Accountable

Drew Houghton, Roger Staubach, and Larry Bache

If you are a storm restoration contractor and never been to April Hall’s Storm Restoration Contractor (“SRC”) Summit, you’re missing out. I had the privilege of meeting April for the first time in 2018 when Chip Merlin and Larry Bache in our office were speaking at an event she hosted on Overhead & Profit. At the O&P event she announced Roger Staubach was going to be the keynote speaker the following March at the 2019 SRC Summit and she asked Larry and myself to speak. We agreed, of course, and suffice it to say the 2019 SRC Summit in Fort Worth was a huge success.
Continue Reading April Hall’s Growing Restoration Contractor Summit