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Victor is committed to helping people and corporations with insurance issues throughout the entire State of California. He primarily focuses on complex commercial property losses, homeowner’s claims and insurance bad faith litigation. He also has extensive experience with matters involving general liability, builder’s risk, professional liability, marine and pollution insurance policies.
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The standard commercial lease for an entire building will require the tenant to either buy building insurance or reimburse the landlord’s premium payments if the landlord buys the insurance. If the tenant opts to purchase the building insurance, this often results in a lower overall premium to the tenant since the building coverage is underwritten with the tenant’s other insurance needs, such as business interruption insurance, workers compensation, liability insurance, and business personal property coverage. This begs a legal question—can a tenant can have an insurable interest in property it leases, i.e., the landlord’s building?
Continue Reading Does a Tenant Have an Insurable Interest in a Leased Building? Yes

The California Appellate Court recently ruled in a published opinion that an insurer cannot escape liability for a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim (bad faith), because its coverage position was based an outside consultant’s findings. In the case, Fadeeff v. State Farm General Insurance Company,1 the court considered State Farm’s bold contention that an insurer should automatically be considered to have acted in good faith if its claim decision is based on an independent expert’s conclusions.
Continue Reading Can an Insurer Avoid Bad Faith Liability by Claiming it Relied on the Opinion of an Outside Consultant?

Due to the extensive loss and damage that wildfires have caused to California insureds in the last several years, the legislature has continued to pass changes to the law that benefit policyholders. We are only a little more than a quarter through 2020 and the legislature continues to focus on expanding policyholders’ rights.
Continue Reading California Legislature Introduces Even More Policyholder Friendly Legislation and Regulations

We keep stressing—and cannot stress enough—that effectively communicating an insurer’s bad faith conduct will help you go further in resolving insurance disputes. A great way to get a carrier’s attention is your ability to identify an insurer’s bad faith conduct, bring the conduct to the carrier’s attention, and explain why such conduct is prohibited. In this blog post, I’ll focus on what insurer conduct in California will demonstrate an insurer’s failure to conduct a thorough investigation. As a best practice, it is always good to let an insurer know the source prohibiting the alleged bad faith conduct. The source will always be either a statute, regulation, or case law. I have included applicable sources.
Continue Reading Another Quick California Guide to Holding an Insurer Accountable – What Constitutes a Bad Faith Lack of a Thorough Investigation

Effective communication with an insurance company is one of the best tools available to successfully resolve claims. I have heard time and time again from insurance adjusters and defense attorneys that poor communication is one of the chief reasons that claims are undervalued and low settlement values are assigned. I outline some basic tips for effective advocacy.
Continue Reading Effective Communication with Insurers – When You Have Good Facts and Law, Focus on the Good Facts and Law

Wildfires have ravaged California the last several years. In addition to the devastation caused, the wildfires have also brought unfair property insurance terms and insurance carriers’ claim practices to light. Fortunately for California policyholders, the legislature has addressed some of these issues, which we have featured in prior blog posts. The California Assembly has already, in 2020, introduced some new legislation that will be friendly to policyholders. It is contained in Assembly Bill No. 182 and is summarized as follows:
Continue Reading California Assembly Introduces More Policyholder Friendly Legislation

As amazing as it may sound, insurance brokers in California have no duty at law to their customers when procuring insurance to advise of adequate coverage. This includes giving a customer advice on what appropriate policy limits may be, what type of exclusions a policy may contain and appropriate additional living expenses or business income coverage limits. After the outbreak of numerous wild fires in California over the past few years, many insureds have found that they were grossly underinsured. Insureds are presumably asking the question: ‘Why didn’t my broker tell me I did not have sufficient insurance coverage to rebuild my home? Surely my broker must be liable, this is my broker’s only job.’ Unfortunately, in all likelihood, the broker is off the hook.
Continue Reading Checklist for California Insurance Broker Negligence Claims

Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill 240, which enacts new laws that regulate out of state independent adjusters. The law also addresses claim adjustment for declared emergencies. The new laws, described more fully below, became effective on October 3. 2019.
Continue Reading California Enacts New Laws that Regulate Out of State Independent Adjusters and Address Claim Adjustment Obligations for Declared Emergencies

In California, a carrier’s bad faith liability includes conduct beyond what is set out in the Insurance Code (statutory) and the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Act regulations. Bad faith conduct is also expressed through case law. Some of this additional bad faith conduct is summarized below. Effectively communicating an insurer’s bad faith conduct is essential to resolving insurance disputes. When you see bad faith conduct, a best practice is to bring the conduct to the carrier’s attention and explain why such conduct is prohibited.
Continue Reading Prohibited Insurer Conduct and Unfair Acts Expressed Through California Case Law – Another Quick Guide to Holding an Insurer Accountable

In California, the moment an insured obtains a repair estimate that exceeds the insurer’s estimate, the insurer must either pay the difference or adjust its original estimate. This rule is set forth in the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Act, 10 Cal. Code Regs. § 2695.9(d). Generally, whenever anyone makes an insurance claim, the insurance company will create a scope of work to repair the damaged property and an estimate of what that cost to repair is. The insurer’s estimate does not atomically mean that is the amount of the claim. An insured has the right to get his or her own estimate and the insurer is required to consider that estimate.
Continue Reading Insurance Regulations Prohibit an Insurer From Just Standing By Its Repair Estimate When An Insured’s Estimate Demonstrates the Cost to Repair Is More – Another California Practice Tip