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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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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

It is becoming more and more common that insurance companies are recommending and suggesting that their “preferred vendors” perform loss repairs. California offers insureds protection if they opt to use a preferred vendor. Under the Fairs Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, if an insurer recommends a vendor, the insurer is essentially required to guaranty that vendor’s work.
Continue Reading California Regulations Require That an Insurer’s Preferred Vendor Return Property to Its Pre-Loss Condition – A Quick Guide to What You Need to Know

Always double check the insured’s contract with a contractor doing repair work for a claim. The California Court of Appeal recently ruled, in Jozefowicz v. Allstate Insurance Company,1 that an insurer can directly pay a contractor when the contract provided that the contractor was appointed as the insured’s representative in fact to endorse and deposit insurance checks. The court came to this conclusion despite the fact there was a dispute over the contractor’s work.
Continue Reading Can an Insurer Pay Insured’s Contractor Directly, Even When There Is a Dispute Regarding the Contractor’s Work?

The string of natural disasters that struck California in 2017 and 2018 resulted in new legislation expanding the rights of California policyholders. The California legislature has drafted and introduced new legislation that would continue to expand policyholders’ rights.
Continue Reading Pending California Property Insurance Legislation – A Continued Expansion of Insured’s Rights

The California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Act outlines specific insurer conduct prohibited and considered unfair to insureds. Identifying prohibited insurer conduct and effectively communicating to a carrier it committed prohibited acts will lead to better claim results.
Continue Reading What Insurer Conduct Is Prohibited and Considered Unfair Under California Law? A Quick Guide to Holding an Insurer Accountable