Merlin Law Group has recently entered into a custom service with our online legal research vendor to provide updates on proposed property insurance legislation, regulations, and insurance commissioner bulletins. The reason is we have done this is because of the increased number of proposed bills and changes in administrative law from the departments of insurance. I have been in this field for over thirty-five years and never have so many states been so busy with what used to be a sleepy part of insurance.

Sean Shaw is a Merlin Law Group attorney who happens to be a Florida legislator. We had dinner two weeks ago and commented about the number of bills proposed by the insurance industry regarding assignment of benefits, his public adjuster licensing bill, and the novel bill on licensing appraisers and umpires who participate in property appraisals. I will write about each of those next week, but those are just a few bills filed in Florida, which if passed, could have a significant impact on claims handling.

Colorado has pending legislation which would essentially provide immunity to insurance companies who slow pay, underpay or simply deny claims when the injured party is a contractor. Contractors are often the first out on the job, making emergency repairs and then fixing the damage. The insurance industry has proposed that it cannot be sued for their lack of good faith and wrongful conduct which results in damages to those contractors. Colorado insurance companies essentially argue that unlike everybody else, they have a right to be wrong. I will also follow up specifically about that legislation.

Thank goodness for Texas Watch. While the Texas legislature meets only every other year, the insurance lobby seems to have it out for any lawyer that helps a Texas policyholder by filing a lawsuit. Texas Watch has experts on insurance battling attempts by the insurance industry to take protections away from businesses and citizens harmed by slow paying, low balling, and denying insurance companies. Our firm is a proud contributor to Texas Watch and I will write more about that battle next week as well.

To be fair, in each of those states there would seem to be some tweaking of laws aimed to combat abuses. But in almost each case, the insurance industry lobbies for immunity for their wrongful action as the remedy, rather than laws specifically targeted to punish abusers. For instance, Sean Shaw has indicated he would favor legislation to help combat abuses in the assignment of benefits transactions, but the insurance industry goes too far by proposing legislation seeking to provide them immunity rather than simply correcting the problem.

My articles next week will touch on each of these three important states.

Have a wonderful Easter Weekend.