Governor Scott has just declared a state of emergency for the entire State of Florida and every county within the State. Let’s face it, as of this morning the forecast track and strength of Tropical Storm Erika has changed repeatedly with each hurricane center update. But as of the time that I am writing this post, it is predicted to traverse the spine of the Florida peninsula and could have wide-reaching affects for Florida residents.


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In the first post on this topic, I wrote about the Florida statute regarding the definition for independent adjuster and how that legal definition can be misunderstood by the public. So I got to thinking, how many other states have similar laws? I next reviewed is the state of New York, which is where I was born and raised near Buffalo, New York.


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Those that work in the insurance claims process regularly are familiar with the term “independent adjuster.” It is one that many of us know and understand, and some readers of this blog may even be independent adjusters. To those outside the insurance industry, a review of the term “independent adjuster” can give a misconception as defined by Florida law. Why is it a misconception you may ask? Let’s look at the definition. Here is the statutory definition for “independent adjuster” in Florida:


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I have been following this case from Hurricane Sandy in the New York Federal District Court for a few posts now and the most recent activity may be a derailment of the $1 billion damage claim from Sandy. I do not like having to report on such situations as it can mean that a policyholder does not obtain the recovery that looked substantial following Sandy. However, I was shocked when I read an article just the other day written with an update on the case in an insurance publication.


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When there is $1 billion involved in a Superstorm Sandy insurance coverage battle, you can bet your bottom dollar there is going to be some gamesmanship in court by the insurance carriers with skin in the game. This has proven true in a New York federal case involving Amtrak and a list of insurance carriers in a coverage case with damages claimed in excess of $1 billion.1


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Well many folks in the insurance industry have been waiting some time for this moment… the decision of the validity of post-loss assignments of benefits in Florida. Several opinions were recently issued on the same day (May 20, 2015) by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals related to assignments of benefits in property insurance claims.1 The cases involve the typical scenario where a policyholder hires a water remediation contractor after suffering a loss, and instead of having to pay them out of their pocket for the work, they issue and assignment of part of the claim proceeds to the vendor.


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Well it appears that this may be the last post in this series about national flood coverage of non-owned debris removal / boat in my front yard case. On Friday, April 17, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied the policyholders’ Petition for Rehearing.1


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There has been some further activity to report in the flood non-owned debris, boat in my front yard case. This topic peaked my interest in the wake of Super Storm Sandy, and is my fourth update on the case. Often there will be debris scattered all around people’s yards following a flood event, especially one as significant as Sandy. On March 26, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the Standard Flood Insurance Policy does not cover the expense of removing non-owned debris in the policyholder’s lot or any land outside the perimeter walls of the structure.1


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The moral of this story is don’t be caught off guard by insurance policy sublimits. It isn’t every day that a policy sublimit issue involves hundreds of millions of dollars. However, that recently was the case involving a Superstorm Sandy claim in New Jersey.1 Public Service Enterprise Group filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against numerous insurance carriers seeking several hundred million dollars in coverage for Super Storm Sandy damage. One of the issues involved whether a flood sublimit applies.


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