The Florida Keys are like no other place I have lived. It’s island living with the southern hospitality you find throughout the mainland. Although the island life is what first attracted us to the Florida Keys, it was our neighbors and other Keys locals that convinced us we would have a second home in the Keys forever. As we shuttered our Cudjoe Key home on Labor Day weekend and looked back, we felt a sense of loss thinking what if our dream home is blown away? But even more worrisome was the thought that our neighbors may not be able to move back for years, paradise is just not the same without them.
Continue Reading

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Javier Delgado, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the eighth in a series he and fellow attorney Tina Nicholson will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).

Often times, an insurance adjuster fails to properly investigate the damages to the insured risk and does not properly evaluate the obvious insurance exclusions for many reasons. After suffering a loss, the insured a business owner is making decisions to get the business up and running as soon as possible, and many of those decisions are based upon the representations of the adjuster, or the lack of information given by the adjuster. The business decisions of whether to move to new location, lease more of the building to offset the additional costs or debt, replace or repair the improvements and betterments installed by a tenant, hire security to protect the premises, purchase a new policy that will cover theft and vandalism on a vacant building thought to be insured under the existing policy, etc., have a significant impact on the amount of money the insured will pay out of pocket and may never recover under the policy.


Continue Reading

A recent order from Galveston County regarding the TWIA litigation specifically names the TWIA representatives who will be deposed and the manner in which the depositions will take place. Suffice it to say that it is no easy challenge preparing for these depositions (see attached order). As members of the Plaintiff’s Ike committee, the members of our firm have read and catalogued thousands of TWIA documents, emails, correspondence and forms in preparation for these depositions. We are expecting more as the depositions start.


Continue Reading

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Javier Delgado, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the eighth in a series he and fellow attorney Tina Nicholson will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).

The ideal inspection process would have both the carrier’s adjuster and the public adjuster respect each others responsibilities and agree to jointly inspect and evaluate the damages resulting in a fair and equitable estimate documenting the damages resulting from a covered peril under the subject insurance policy, but many times this is not the case.


Continue Reading

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Javier Delgado, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the sixth in a series he and fellow attorney Tina Nicholson will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).

Insurance adjusters will never tell you that

[p]roperty damage estimates may look very rigorous, systematic, and scientific, yet these estimates reflect assumptions about how much labor time and expense is required to do certain work and how much material will cost. These assumptions can be wrong or inappropriate in any given case.

James J. Markham, Kevin M. Quinley & Layne S. Thompson, The Claims Environment, 1st ed. (Insurance institute of America, 1993) p. 176.

However, adjusters are trained to acknowledge this and are encouraged to work with the homeowner or homeowner’s representative to adjust the loss.


Continue Reading

Yesterday, Michelle Claverol and I had the honor and privilege to speak before a large crowd of public adjusters at the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) Winter Conference. As Michelle and I were preparing for the presentation, “Tales From the Dark Side,” it occurred to me…
Continue Reading

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Javier Delgado, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the first in a series he and fellow attorney Tina Nicholson will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T TELL ME EVERYTHING THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT TWIA?”

No, this is not a typographical error. There are many things that we have learned about Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) and many things that we cannot openly discuss.


Continue Reading