Chip’s Note: This guest post is by Luke Irwin, a public adjuster in the Gulf Coast Region and President of Irwin & Associates.

April 14, 2020, I received the shipment. And with the patience of a child looking at a Christmas gift, I ripped open the box to find eight fresh books… Pay Up! by Chip Merlin. It was a book that forged lifelong friendships across the aisle, opened eyes, molded minds, made carriers, and touched the lives of tens of thousands of lives… so far.
Continue Reading Red Pill, Blue Pill

Note: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Unfortunately, we are singing the same old song again in Louisiana, having to report new administrative actions filed against public adjusters for the unauthorized practice of law and licensing violations. The pursuit of these types of actions by the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) has been dormant for a few years. As a result, some public adjusters have relaxed their concern about possible scrutiny by the LDI on their conduct. This is a mistake. Even armed with all the correct types of documents, however, one can still fall outside the law regarding conduct.
Continue Reading Beware Public Adjusters – Danger Ahead in Louisiana!

Note: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Great food, friendly people, charm, and character all combine to make Louisiana wonderfully unique. What also makes Louisiana unique is its set of laws. Historically, Louisiana law is largely based upon the Napoleonic Code, instead of the English common law, as is the rest of the U.S. The public adjuster law is no exception.
Continue Reading Public Adjusting in Louisiana

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.

Recently, I have seen a trend following severe weather events, whether the damage is from hail, wind, or extreme amounts of rain (as will occur in Texas and Louisiana this week), where contractors are applying shrink wrap to roofs, apparently to stop water from entering the building.
Continue Reading Read This Before You Shrink Wrap Your Roof!

Note: This guest post is by Kevin Dandridge, certified OSHA instructor and owner of 1 Life Safety. He has certifications in OSHA 500, Asbestos, Lead, CFM, NFPA 70 arc Flash Instruction, disaster worker instruction, MEWP, scissor lift, forklift, and First Aid/CPR/AED instruction, as well as others.

Good morning. I hope you and your workers are doing the absolute best to stay safe during the current pandemic. Also, OSHA has released another mandate for staying safe during the crisis.
Continue Reading OSHA Compliance in a Pandemic World

NOTE: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

Much has changed in the world since my blog on March 24th. Not only are there new phrases in our lexicon such as “Zoom happy hour,” but also the legislative response to COVID-19 Business Interruption claims has taken a new tone. At first, a few states1 offered bill similar to the New Jersey2 one, but then, as Chip has commented, the insurance industry has made its views known—as we knew they would.
Continue Reading Through the Rabbit Hole—Update on proposed COVID-19 Business Interruption Legislation

NOTE: This guest blog post is by Holly Soffer, Esq., a policyholder attorney and General Counsel to the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.

While many of us are working at home, we have more time to spend analyzing and contemplating the roles of the government and the insurance industry in responding to the coronavirus crisis. This blog post is an extension of that opportunity.
Continue Reading COVID-19 and The New Jersey Assembly Bill 3844

(NOTE: This guest post is by Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE.1 Barry Zelma is a prolific writer and scholar in the field of insurance. I have purchased numerous publications from Barry. I am currently reading a book on legal ethics he wrote, The Little Book on Ethics For The American Lawyer, which may be his finest work and that is saying a lot after reading his treatises on insurance law and adjustment. I encourage you to read this very thorough post and consider purchasing Zalma’s publications for your reference library. – Chip Merlin.)

A Policyholders Lawyer’s Take on the Obligation to Read

In its blog the Merlin Law Group cites a small portion of a lengthy Hastings Law Journal article written by Professor Chuck Knapp.2 Dr. Knapp did not like the use, by appellate courts, of the concept that there is a duty to read (DTR) an insurance policy.

The blog post by Chip Merlin proposed that Dr. Knapp’s proposals would allow the court to rewrite the terms and conditions of the policy. Dr. Knapp did not do that but spent many pages explaining why the word “duty” should not be used and the exceptions available to the courts when interpreting an insurance contract as well as other contracts.
Continue Reading There is an Obligation for the Insured to Read an Insurance Policy

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.
Continue Reading Steve Badger Responds – Actions Speak Louder Than An Unfortunate Attempt At Humor

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.”
Continue Reading Insurance Is Not a Commodity – It’s Not All About the Price