Merlin Law Group has consistently tracked Hurricane Michael claim information provided by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR). Insurance companies reported the total number of claims for Hurricane Michael to be 149,773 with more than $7.4 billion in estimated insured losses as of October 25, 2019. For the latest reporting period, we anticipate the number of new claims filed to increase as many policyholders had hoped their insurance companies would do right by them during the initial adjustment and investigation stage of their claims. It is important to note that Florida Statutes §627.70132, allows policyholders to file a claim within three years of the hurricane’s initial landfall or when the windstorm caused the covered damage, in accordance with the terms of the policy.
Continue Reading Status of Hurricane Michael Claims: Estimated Insured Losses Exceed $7.4B

On October 2, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that a dispute between an insurance company and its policyholder should proceed to appraisal despite insurance company’s allegations that it had discovered what it called evidence of fraud.
Continue Reading An Insurer’s Potential Fraud Claim Against Insured Was “No Reason to Stop or Stay Appraisal,” Court Rules

A business interruption claim does not always end up in litigation. There are basic techniques that an insured may consider expediting and presenting a claim that may result in a fair resolution of a business interruption claim. The Business Interruption Book: Coverage, Claims, and Recovery,1 is a great source for information on business interruption issues and it provides a non-exclusive checklist to facilitate claims handling.
Continue Reading Business Interruption: Strategies for Resolution

Business Interruption coverage protects the potential earnings of the insured business while its operations are suspended as a result of damage caused by a covered peril. The period of restoration has a direct effect on the actual loss suffered. A typical definition in most ISO forms of the “period of restoration” is:
Continue Reading Can My Business Recover Additional Income Loss If Code Upgrades Are Delaying the Time to Complete Repairs?

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation has a dual responsibility of regulating the insurance industry and protecting consumer interest in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As of January 30, 2018, the most recent data on insurance claims provided by the Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation (“Division”) indicated the following:1
Continue Reading How to File A Complaint With The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Insurance About Your Delaying, Denying and Bad Treating Insurance Company

Iris Kuhn

The purpose of Section 627.7015, Florida Statutes titled “Alternative procedure for resolution of disputed property insurance claims” is to encourage insurance companies and policyholders to resolve their disagreements regarding disputed property insurance claims without the necessity of litigation or appraisal. The statute requires, in part:

(2) At the time a first-party claim within the scope of this section is filed by the policyholder, the insurer shall notify the policyholder of its right to participate in the mediation program under this section.1
Continue Reading Can An Insurer Waive Its Right to Appraisal?

A very insightful reader posted this comment to my blog post, Period of Restoration-Valuing Business Interruption Claims, Part I:

When adjusting business interruption claims, I find that the biggest disagreements I have with carriers are not with the length of the restoration period. They’re with my projected revenues had no loss occurred.
Continue Reading Business Income Loss – Recurring Measurement Loss Issues

An overwhelming number of claims are settled on a mutual understanding with respect to the covered loss and the amount necessary to indemnify the policyholder. The question is then: What can a policyholder do if the insurance company is taking an unreasonable amount of time to tender settlement payment. Florida law remains focused on strong public policy encouraging settlement of claims. To accomplish that goal Florida legislature has implemented statutes to protect the policyholders even when an amicable resolution has been reached between the policyholder and the insurance company.
Continue Reading In Florida, There Are Penalties For An Insurance Company That Does Not Timely Issue Payment After A Settlement

The effort to mitigate the damage, gather supporting documents, and present an insurance claim, can for many policyholders prove to be the toughest part of the recovery process. After suffering a loss or business interruption, the main priority of most business owners is restoring their businesses or premises as soon as possible – not preparing an insurance claim. While their goal is to achieve the utmost recovery in the shortest period of time, the loss adjustment process can be long and grueling.
Continue Reading Period of Restoration – Should the time to adjust the claim be considered? Part II

Business interruption coverage is very valuable to many policyholders in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Florida business owners may seek coverage under their commercial insurance policies for business interruption, which indemnifies them for lost earnings and expenses if their businesses are partially or totally interrupted as a result of Hurricane Michael. Business interruption coverage is intended to protect the potential earnings of the insured business. Its purpose is “to do for the insured…just what the business itself would have done if no interruption had occurred—no more.”1
Continue Reading Period of Restoration – Valuing Business Interruption Claims, Part I