Jennifer Van Voorhis

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Mudslide in California—Are You Covered?

As everyone watching the news knows, there were horrific mudslides in Santa Barbara County this week caused by flash flooding in the fire-scarred Santa Ynez Mountains. Due to the fires that have ravaged Southern California in the past month, the scorched earth—lacking shrubs that can absorb water—is especially susceptible to mudslide when there is a … Continue Reading

Roof Matching in Montana

We received a request for a blog related to decisions on roof matching under homeowner’s policies of insurance. In 1997 the Insurance Commissioner’s Office of Montana took a position on roof matching under the contractual duty to make a policyholder “whole” again, and the query was whether Montana had case law or statutory provisions at … Continue Reading

White House Proposes Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program

Currently, policies of insurance for flood, even if purchased through your insurance agent or normal insurance company, are Federal Flood Insurance Policies issued through the National Flood Insurance Program, if your community is participating in the NFIP. Because the program is federally subsidized, homeowners on floodplains are able to purchase the polices at rates much … Continue Reading

Fresh vs. Salt Water Flooding

As I watched Hurricane Irma coverage on CNN, following the landfall in Naples, I was reminded of a problem many insureds faced following Superstorm Sandy: “Is the water the result of flood or rain?” While Naples was in the eye of the storm, CNN showed a six block stretch of water covering streets where rain … Continue Reading

Crumbling Foundation and the Collapse Provision in a Homeowners Policy

Recently, Connecticut has had an increase in insurance claims for crumbling foundations due to faulty foundations poured in the 1980s and 1990s. Some foundations poured during this time frame contained a mineral, pyrrhotite, which can cause cracking when it reacts with oxygen and water. It is estimated nearly 20,000 foundations poured contain the mineral.… Continue Reading

Depreciation of Labor Costs

A common question by insureds has to do with depreciation, and how it is defined when calculating an Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) payment for property loss. For an underlying discussion of Depreciation Values, I direct you to Chip Merlin’s post on November 21, 2016: Determining Depreciation–Are Policyholders Getting Ripped Off?… Continue Reading

FEMA to Revise NYC Flood Maps

If you’re a property owner in New York City, you already know the high cost of insurance in the city. If you have a mortgage on your property, you also know that property owners in a high flood-risk zone are required to purchase flood insurance. In October, FEMA announced it will revise its flood maps … Continue Reading

What is Force-placed insurance?

Force-placed insurance is an insurance policy placed by a lender, bank or loan servicer on a home when the property owners’ own insurance is cancelled, has lapsed or is deemed insufficient and the borrower does not or cannot obtain another policy. They are also known as “creditor-placed, lender-placed or collateral protection” insurance.… Continue Reading

Bailee Liability in New Jersey

As Hermine made its way up the Eastern Seaboard, everyone along the New Jersey Coastline was praying this would not be a repeat of Hurricane Sandy. We in the tristate were lucky this time and the storm went out to sea with little impact, but as I read recent blog posts while preparing for the … Continue Reading

Poor Air Quality Can Be Physical Damage

I’ve lived all over the country and prior to making my way to the East coast, I was lucky enough to live in the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon, home of Harry and Davids, Jackson and Perkins, and—for you craft beer aficionados—Rogue Brewery. One of my favorite things in the Rogue Valley is the Shakespeare … Continue Reading
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