Chip Merlin and Steve Badger

(Note: This guest post is by Steven Badger, a Partner at Zelle, LLP, where he represents the commercial property insurance industry in emerging and significant risk exposures. In addition to representing his clients in litigated disputes, Steve spends considerable time working with the insurance industry and other interested stakeholders in finding solutions to the abuses and outright fraud prevalent in these matters. This includes development of policy form changes and legislative solutions to address common issues, as well as the identification and pursuit of actions against fraudulent actors involved in these matters.)

I was surprised to learn this week of a PLRB webinar slide in which an attorney from my law firm made a general negative statement about public adjusters. I had never seen the slide before. I knew nothing about it. In fact, I initially doubted that it was even real, as I didn’t expect that an attorney in my law firm would take such a position.

But, unfortunately, the slide was real.

It was just being circulated and considered out of context.
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Note: This guest post is by David Thompson, CPCU, AAI, API, CRIS, an instructor at the Florida Association of Insurance Agents for over 23 years. Prior to that he worked in a family-owned insurance agency for over ten years. He was a commissioned officer in the United States Army and the United States Coast Guard for eight years prior to beginning his insurance career. In his spare time, he smokes the world’s best BBQ.

I drive a red four-door car that has a sticker price of about $21,000. A good friend of mine also drives a red four-door car, but his car was over $26,000. Why did he pay more than I did? After all aren’t all red four door cars the same?

The answer to that question is obvious because different cars have different features. The same concept can be used with insurance policies. Not every policy is the same, and price alone should never be a reason to purchase an insurance policy. The homeowners policy on my Tallahassee home is $1,281 per year. I doubt any of my neighbors pay that much and I’m nearly 100 percent certain that no one within miles of my house has a policy with as many coverage enhancements as my policy does. I have (for fun) gone to some websites where you can put in your street address, answer four or five simple questions and pronto, you get a quote. I did that just today and the quote provided in under a minute listed 23 companies; 22 were lower than my current premium with the lowest being $572. By the way, only three questions were asked: zip code, year built, and coverage limit. But, what did that policy include? Was coverage as broad as what I currently have? I assure you that it was not, but too many consumers would look at $1,281 vs. $572 and go with the cheaper quote. A long time “insurance nerd” friend of mine who had over fifty years in the insurance industry when he passed away a few years ago often said, “The bitterness of no coverage is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
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Note: This guest blog is by Scott deLuise. Scott deLuise has been a public adjuster in Colorado since 1985, and licensed since Colorado implemented licensing. He is licensed in 28 states and Puerto Rico. He is a past president of NAPIA, and founding president of RMAPIA.

Monday before last was a sad day for the property insurance industry for carriers, but mostly for consumers.
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Note: This guest blog post is by Brent Winans, Vice President of Clear Advantage Risk Management in Delray Beach, Florida (www.clearadvantagerisk.com). He provides fee-based (no insurance sales) risk management consulting services to larger clients and serves as an expert witness on both sides of agent errors and omissions cases across the country.

Even if your building is insured for replacement cost, if you do not have Ordinance or Law coverage, you probably do not have the protection you think you have.

A standard replacement cost policy will pay to replace “new for old,” but only if the building codes (ordinances or laws) do not require a better “new” than you had before. For instance, if your building does not have hurricane shutters or hurricane windows and the new code requires them, your replacement cost policy will pay the cost for replacing your original windows but will not pay the increased cost for new hurricane windows or hurricane shutters.
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Note: This guest post is by Steven Thomas. As President and Owner of Roof Leak Detection Company, Inc., Steven Thomas has evaluated over 20,000 roofing systems on commercial, industrial, and residential properties, and has been qualified in court as an expert in regards to roof testing and evaluations. His company is an approved Testing Laboratory and has held this certification since 1994.

I have seen a trend lately which occurs after severe weather impacts an area and damage has been caused by either hail, wind, or extreme amounts of rain (like what I witnessed this past week in Texas), and Contractors have been applying shrink wrap to roofs. Apparently, they use shrink wrap to prevent water from entering the building. When you have a leaky roof, it is costly to repair and annoying to say the least! And yes, shrink wrap can certainly provide a temporary relief from the immediate problem of water coming into the structure; however, every novel idea has its problems too!
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Note: This guest blog is by Lewis O’Leary, who has served as both a forensic investigator and restoration contractor since Hurricane Camille (1969). He has a degree in the fields of Mechanical Engineering and Architecture, is the Chairman of the Education Committee for the Building Envelope Science Institute, and is a design/build, General Contractor licensed in North Carolina. Mr. O’Leary also serves as a staff consultant for engineering firms involved with wind damage from hurricanes and tornadoes. He can be contacted at 919-577-0907 or via e-mail at probuil@aol.com.

In researching the weather data for the June 14, 2017, hailstorm in the Midland/Odessa area, I shocked a veteran contractor who that works storm clean up by telling him that my research shows that wind typically causes more damage than hail.
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Note: This guest blog is by Lewis O’Leary, who has served as both a forensic investigator and restoration contractor since Hurricane Camille (1969). He has a degree in the fields of Mechanical Engineering and Architecture, is the Chairman of the Education Committee for the Building Envelope Science Institute, and is a design/build, General Contractor licensed in North Carolina. Mr. O’Leary also serves as a staff consultant for engineering firms involved with wind damage from hurricanes and tornadoes. He can be contacted at 919-577-0907 or via e-mail at probuil@aol.com.

On July 9, 2017, the News & Observer (N&O), a Raleigh, North Carolina based newspaper, published a front-page article entitled Nearly 200,000 homes in NC are at risk from tropical winds. The article explains that nearly all “manufactured” (aka mobile) homes will be torn to pieces if they are exposed to a “strong” hurricane.
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Note: This guest blog is by Curtis Hutchens, an AV Martindale Hubell preeminent lawyer, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil and County Court mediator, a qualified arbitrator and a Windstorm Insurance Network (WIND) Umpire and Fellow and serves as President of WIND. He also serves the legal community as a Florida Bar Grievance and Fee Dispute Mediator and Arbitrator. He has earned the insurance industry designation of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and serves as VP of his local CPCU society.

Follow these ten tips to get your property/home damage claim paid faster and in full. Your insurance carrier receives hundreds of claims, many of which are similar to yours. As the claims come in, the insurance company triages each claim and categorizes them as easy to pay, deny, investigate, or litigate. Most companies would challenge this characterization of their triage process as overly simplistic. Insurance carriers insist that they handle each claim individually based on the policy language, the facts of the loss and the law that applies. Regardless, your job is get your claim into the “easy to pay” category as soon as possible. You cannot eliminate the need of the company to investigate or adjust the claim, but by following these ten tips, your claim will be paid fully in the shortest time possible.


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Note: This is a guest blog written by Dwayne Hall, a public insurance adjuster in Texas.


On June 11, 1993, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) issued a bulletin to address replacement of damaged roofs. The bulletin specifically set forth the position of the Department regarding the payment of a claim for a roof damaged loss to include the cost of the removal of the damaged roof as part of the covered loss to the roof caused by the insured peril.


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