As policyholder attorneys, we frequently hear concerns from public adjusters that at the conclusion of a difficult adjusting process with an insurance carrier, a release was demanded in exchange for some agreed payment for the loss.1 Public adjusters cannot advise their clients whether the release is appropriate since that advice would constitute the practice of law, and the policyholder is then presented with a dilemma: sign the release to receive the insurance check – and give up the right to seek supplemental benefits under the policy – or refuse and challenge the insurance company’s release requirement.
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The appraisal alternative dispute resolution procedure in most first-party property insurance policies in Florida is a valuable process for insureds. In our experience at Merlin Law Group, few states in the country have a greater need for an understandable, enforceable appraisal process than Florida. Since at least Hurricane Andrew in 1992, policyholders and insurers have resorted to appraisal as a quicker, more cost-effective, binding means to determine a critical issue under the policy – the amount of a loss.
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In a recent post, Policyholders May Benefit From All Their Coverages, I discussed the importance of carefully evaluating all the insurance benefits potentially available to policyholders if a catastrophic loss occurs. That blog examined the decision in Citizens Property Insurance Corp. v. Hamilton,1 which allowed recovery of benefits for a total loss due to flood and due to wind damage under both a flood and a separate specified-peril wind insurance policy.
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Following the devastating damages from Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma, homeowners and businesses alike examined their insurance coverages to assist their recovery. For most people that have never needed to use insurance benefits, or had only small claims, these policies may have seemed like just another large expense every year that mostly protected the bank on its lending. However, when a loss happens each insurance policy should be recognized as the asset it has always been, available to provide funding for large, unanticipated expenses. The case I discuss next illustrates why understanding insurance principles is so crucial to gathering all available policy benefits.
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Following the devastating damages from Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma, homeowners and businesses examined their insurance coverages to assist their recovery. For most people that have never needed to use insurance benefits, or had only small claims, these policies may have seemed like just another large expense every year that mostly protected the bank on its lending. Actually, when a loss happens each insurance policy should be recognized as the asset it has always been, available to provide funding for large, unanticipated expenses. The case I discuss next illustrates why understanding insurance principles is so crucial to gathering all available policy benefits.
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