Jennifer Van Voorhis

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Auto Dealer Insurance Policies

For the past few days, it’s been raining cats and dogs in New Jersey. Being stuck inside, I was scrolling through my social media feed and came across a video of multiple new cars being washed down what appeared to be a river from a car dealership. This led to a lively discussion on my … Continue Reading

Does An Insurer Waive Privilege for Attorney-Client Communications in the Claims File By Denying Bad Faith?

Merlin Law Group is closely monitoring a case pending before the South Carolina Supreme Court to see how it answers the question: “Does South Carolina law support application of the ‘at issue’ exception to the attorney-client privilege such that a party may waive the privilege by denying liability in its answer?”… Continue Reading

California Department of Insurance Has Approved the State’s First Cannabis Business Owners Policy

More states across the country are implementing legislation allowing for the legal use of cannabis. Currently 23 States and the District of Columbia allow for medical use with four of the states and D.C. also allowing recreational use. The conflicts between state and federal law have left businesses uninsured and often without access to bank … Continue Reading

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
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