In a matter of first impression, the Supreme Court of Kentucky recently held that a mental incapacity defense was available to insureds to defeat the intentional-loss exclusion in an insurance policy.1 In that case, the insureds’ teenage son, who was in a disturbed mental state, started a house fire in a suicide attempt. After the fire damaged the house to the point it became uninhabitable for an extended period of time, the insureds made a claim for property damage under their homeowners policy. The insurer denied the claim relying upon the intentional-loss exclusion within the policy. Continue Reading Is Mental Incapacity Defense Available to Insureds to Defeat the Intentional-Loss Exclusion?

This past week Merlin Law Group attorneys, Amy Currotto and I, had the pleasure of participating in the American Bar Association’s two-day webinar titled “COVID 19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters.” As was described in my previous blog post, the online conference allowed property insurance attorneys from many different backgrounds to review and discuss key coverage issues, as well as provide listeners with the insight and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of COVID-19 business interruption litigation. Continue Reading COVID-19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters – A Discussion with John Garaffa on the Decisions and Rationale of Recent Business Interruption Cases

It’s that season again. Here come the hurricanes, here come the strong winds and rains. Will your house and beautiful trees survive the onslaught? It is a question that we who live along the Gulf Coast ask ourselves at the beginning of every hurricane season. And along with that question, comes the next one—if a tree falls will my homeowners insurance policy cover it? Like many legal questions, the answer is “it depends.” Continue Reading Will Your Homeowner’s Insurance Cover That Fallen Tree?

Missouri does not recognize a common law right to bring an action for the breach of the conversant of good faith and fair dealing for a first party property insurance claim. Instead, Missouri statutory law allows policyholders the right to hold insurance companies accountable for their “vexatious” refusal to pay. Continue Reading Missouri Bad Faith Law—Understanding Missouri’s Vexatious Refusal to Pay Law

Beginning today, June 2, 2021, and continuing on June 3rd, the American Bar Association will host attorneys for policyholders and insurance companies who will break down what to expect in future policy provisions as a result of Covid-19 claims and decisions. This two-day webinar will review key coverage issues and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of Covid-19 business interruption litigation. I have the pleasure of participating in this webinar as a member of the panel. On June 3rd, my colleague and fellow Merlin Law Group attorney, Amy Currotto, will be speaking on New Policy Provisions and What to Expect. Continue Reading Sneak Peek at the American Bar Association Live Webinar: COVID 19: Challenges for Litigators and Underwriters – How Do Basic Contract Interpretation Principles Tie into the Latest Court Decisions and Rationale?

A recent insurance contract case came down to the step of determining which state law applied.1 While it is a liability contract case, the issue is the same and a very important one that is not often discussed. Property insurance adjusters often overlook what state law applies when interpreting insurance contracts and generally use the state law where the loss happens. While this is often the case, different state laws may apply in more complex commercial and surplus written policies. Continue Reading Are You Interpreting An Insurance Contract? The first step is to determine which state law applies so you know what interpretation rules to use—Tuesday @2 With Chip Merlin will Discuss this Often Overlooked Step

Memorial Day usually finds millions of Americans traveling all over our great country. It is important that over this weekend, all of us take time to remember and reflect on the greatest sacrifice many made so we can enjoy our liberties. If your property burns down under suspicious circumstances, you may also want to remember and reflect on where you were and your activities as well because the insurance company claims representatives will be curious. Continue Reading What Were Your Activities Over Memorial Day Weekend? A Quick Case Study on Post Loss Misrepresentations, Overvaluation and Arson

On June 2-3, the American Bar Association will host attorneys for policyholders and insurance companies who will break down what to expect in future policy provisions as a result of Covid-19 claims and decisions. This webinar will review key coverage issues and arguments being advanced and challenged by policyholders and insurers in the ongoing saga of Covid-19 business interruption litigation. Continue Reading American Bar Association Sponsors Webinar on Covid-19 Business Interruption Litigation

With hurricane season nearing fast, now is the time to check up on your insurance policy to determine whether you are covered on all fronts. Standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding, meaning policyholders are required to obtain supplemental flood insurance to protect their home against potential storm surges. While most policyholders obtain flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, there are private insurer options available to those looking for another option. Continue Reading Hurricane Season Is Near – Preparing For Flood Claims