Merlin Law Group attorneys Corey Harris, Ashley Harris, and Mike Duffy won a jury trial in Fort Myers, Florida, yesterday. The case involved a roofing contractor who filed suit under an assignment of benefits contract to a residential policy. Tower Hill Prime denied the claim.

Many insurance company adjusters treat restoration contractors as second-class citizens. Many companies have training sessions with role playing where they teach their adjusters how to deal with roofing contractors so that prices are lowered and required methods of roof repair are not approved. I have discussed this in, Restoration Contractors Providing Great Quality Workmanship Are Policyholder Friends But Many Insurance Companies Refuse To Pay For Quality. In that post, I noted:

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that quality contractors performing the type of work discussed in the IRMI article cannot possibly stay in business if insurance companies demand “cheap” pricing….

Many insurance claims departments have a culture that will only pay for “okay” construction. AT&T’s current advertising campaign about “okay” services and products makes the point. Would you want just an “okay” surgeon or tattoo artist? Would you want your sushi to be just “okay?” Would you search for and buy your grand-baby the “cheapest but acceptable” car seat?

Yet, when it comes to insurance restoration construction, I have never heard an insurance company property insurance adjuster demanding that the contractors providing their pricing, or the pricing found in Xactimate, to be only from quality contractors…They always go cheaper and for “okay” construction. They wrongfully allow the “cheap” contractors to provide data for pricing used by Xactimate.

Quality restoration contractors fighting these adjustment practices are heroes for all of us. Demanding fair pricing which allows for quality and standing up to the insurance industry adjusters is admirable. It is far easier to accept lower pricing and provide cheap and inferior workmanship.

Corey Harris told me that he was proud to represent our roofer client. The client served six years in the army. He is a dedicated and passionate manager of a roofing contracting firm with policyholder clients who love him.

Corey said that the opposing law firm attorneys from Cole, Scott & Kissane were “really professional and knew what they doing.” Cole, Scott & Kissane has become a major force in property insurance defense. Their website states the depth of the attorneys focusing in first-party insurance defense:

Cole Scott & Kissane’s first-party residential and commercial property coverage and litigation group is at the forefront of handling sinkhole damage, water damage, wind damage, fire damage and other property damage claims throughout the state of Florida. CSK has handled thousands of pre suit and litigation files for numerous carriers trying many of those to verdict. Our defense team has more than 30 attorneys spread across our 10 offices that handle almost exclusively these types of claims and lawsuits. We are actively involved in investigating and assisting carriers in prosecuting insurance fraud. Many of our attorneys are former geologists, engineers, insurance adjusters or state prosecutors which brings a unique ability to better handle sinkhole, fraud, water, wind and fire claims. We are also unique in the fact that our lawyers have a tremendous amount of first-party property experience while still trying a tremendous number of cases to verdict, which only serves to protect insurance carriers’ interests to a degree that no other firm can provide.

Jury trials are an important part of the fabric of our United States. Unlike other countries that only trust judges to render judgements, we give power to our fellow citizens. This jury awarded our client the full amount of his estimate. I feel lucky to be associated with attorneys passionately working to take cases to a jury trial rather than settle for pennies on the dollar.

Thought For The Day

Winning is fun… Sure. But winning is not the point. Wanting to win is the point. Not giving up is the point. Never letting up is the point. Never being satisfied with what you’ve done is the point.
—Pat Summitt