Several weeks ago, the Texas Supreme Court issued a trilogy of per curiam opinions: TopDog Properties v. GuideOne National Insurance Company,1 Alvarez v. State Farm Lloyds,2 and Lazos v. State Farm Lloyds,3 and remanded these cases because the trial courts and appellate courts failed to follow the Texas Supreme Court’s opinions in Barbara Technologies Corp. v. State Farm Lloyds,4 and Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds.5 Except for TopDog which has a unilateral appraisal clause in its policy, all three cases have nearly identical facts.
Continue Reading Policyholders Continue to Prevail As “Top Dogs” – Court Confirms Payment of Appraisal Award Not a Bar to Insurer’s Liability Under Prompt Payment of Claims Act

Historic homes can be great investments often receiving tax breaks or lower interest loans, but an important factor that should be considered before purchasing a historic home, and one that is often overlooked, is the consideration of obtaining good insurance coverage which is a completely different process from insuring an average home. Before looking at the insurance issue, the question of what makes a house “historic” is interesting and provides an appropriate foundation. Historic homes often fall into two categories: houses built prior to 1945 and those build before 1900.1
Continue Reading Historic Home Insurance Considerations

Buying a home is generally the biggest investment that most people are likely to make. But with the excitement of buying a home, does anyone ever consider the costs of repairs? Probably not. Both a Home Warranty Policy and a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy can operate to protect the cost of some home repairs, but it is important to know the difference in these two policies.
Continue Reading What’s the Difference Between a Home Warranty Policy and a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Electric Scooters (“E-Scooters”) are electric motor powered “stand-up” scooters often reaching speeds exceeding 15 or 20 mph and usually do not require a driver’s license to operate.1 They are classified as a form of micro-mobility2 and are designed with two wheels and a base deck in the center on which the rider stands.
Continue Reading Electric Scooters: Are You Covered Under Your Homeowner or Automobile Insurance Policy And Are E-Scooters Regulated By the State of Texas?

On December 10, 2019, the Northern District of Texas issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order in, Barnes Burk Storage, LLC v. United Fire & Casualty Company,1 which denied a motion to remand. This opinion applied the recent Hoyt Exception to keep the case in federal court. The Hoyt Exception sprang from the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in Hoyt v. Lane Construction Corp.,2 this year and is a narrow exception to the voluntary-involuntary rule. The Hoyt Exception operates when state court orders create diversity jurisdiction—a ticket to federal court—and when such orders cannot be reversed on appeal.
Continue Reading The Hoyt Exception: An Exception to the Voluntary-Involuntary Rule

Last week, the Texas Second Court of Appeals issued Lambert v. State Farm Lloyds,1 which follows the Texas Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Barbara Technologies Corp. v. State Farm Lloyds.2

In a recent blog post, Payment of an Appraisal Award: Is There More, I reviewed Barbara Tech and its companion case, Ortiz v. State Farm Lloyds.3 These two landmark cases hold that an insurer’s full and timely payment of an appraisal award, bars an insured’s causes of action for breach of contract and any common law and statutory bad faith claims, to the extent the bad faith claims seek only actual damages that are considered lost policy benefits.
Continue Reading Invoking Appraisal – Be Careful What You Ask For

The answer to the above question on Certificates of Insurance1 is found in another long-awaited answer to a certified question2 that was tendered nearly a year ago from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the Washington Supreme Court in T-Mobile USA v. Selective Insurance Company of America. The question certified was:

Under Washington law, is an insurer bound by representations made by its authorized agent in a certificate of insurance with respect to a party’s status as an additional insured under a policy issued by the insurer, when the certificate includes language disclaiming its authority and ability to expand coverage?
Continue Reading Can a Certificate of Insurance Change the Terms of An Insurance Policy?

The Round-up: The Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (“TAPIA”) has lassoed and corralled a great group of speakers and events that you absolutely will not want to miss this fall in Fort Worth. If you register by August 31st, members will only have to “pony-up” $149 and non-member, first timers $195. If you don’t have a bed roll or pup-tent to pitch, early registration is already open at Embassy Suites Downtown Fort Worth at 600 Commerce Street. You can save a nickel at Embassy Suites if you register by September 16th and mention “TAPIA” to get a TAPIA rate. Register either on line or call (817) 332-6900.
Continue Reading Yee-Haw!! Meet Your Tapia Cowpoke Friends in the Cowtown Capital of Texas—Fort Worth—For the Fall Conference October 15-17, 2019

The infamous “Hail Bill” will be celebrating its second birthday this September 1, 2019. Whether there will be any celebrations is another question. The “Hail Bill” – the Chapter 542A amendment to the Texas Insurance Code—covers first-party claims arising from “forces of nature.”1 Within that chapter, one notably section is 542A.006, which allows an insurer to elect to assume its agent’s civil liability for the agent’s conduct related to the handling of a claim. This section has been seeing a lot of litigation of late.
Continue Reading Remand From Federal Court After Passage of the “Hail Bill:” Section 542A.006 and the Election of Legal Responsibility