In the last two weeks, Puerto Rico has experienced earthquakes that have caused significant damage to homes and buildings, especially in the southwest area of the island closest to the earthquake epicenters. Many of these properties have collapsed and others are under dangerous conditions. The government has asked the people to abandon homes that are not safe, and the Governor declared a State of Emergency due to the seismic activity continues in Puerto Rico. Continue Reading Can My Insurance Company Deny Coverage If I Vacate My House After an Earthquake?

Merlin Law Group attorney Jason Cieri and I were discussing recent cases in Connecticut. There will be a Connecticut Association of Public Insurance Adjusters meeting tomorrow. One case in particular piqued my interest because a policyholder was awarded a million dollars by a jury following a fire claim where the insurer wrongfully accused the policyholder of arson.1 Continue Reading Arson Denial Results In Policyholder Obtaining Emotional Distress Damages From Insurer’s Negligent Arson Investigation

The point of this blog is to implore policyholders to buy what is commonly called code upgrade coverage – formally known as law and ordinance coverage. I was thinking about this after reading two different articles discussing very different losses in very different parts of the world. Continue Reading The Importance of Revising Building Laws and Ordinances, Which Explains Why Law and Ordinance Coverage Law is So Important To Purchase

Ordinarily, multiple family members residing in the same household qualify as insured persons under a homeowner’s insurance policy. What happens when one of the insureds intentionally causes a loss, but the others do not? Are the innocent co-insureds precluded from recovering under the policy? Continue Reading Am I Barred From Recovering Under An Insurance Policy Because of Another Co-Insured’s Intentional Acts?

Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria claims are not close to being finished. Now, we have major earthquakes impacting Puerto Rico. The worst example of poor treatment to policyholders following a hurricane catastrophe is found in Puerto Rico. It is sad and now numerous earthquakes are causing more damage and loss. Continue Reading Puerto Rico Earthquakes—Could Anything Happen At a Worse Time For Puerto Rico? What Should Those Suffering From Earthquake Damage in Puerto Rico Do?

A younger attorney recently asked me who I considered was the first property insurance attorney representing policyholders on a regular basis in Florida. Maurice Rosen came to mind. I met Rosen while I was still working as a very young attorney insurance defense attorney with Paul B. Butler & Associates in 1983. Continue Reading The First Florida Property Insurance Lawyer—Maurice Rosen

Our client owns a large food market. Last summer, it burned down. The client submitted a claim under his business insurance policy from Farmers. The insurance policy included several different types of coverage, such as Business Property, Business Income, Extra Expense, and more. The insured had insufficient insurance limits under his Business Property to replace everything needed to reopen the market. Thus, he sought coverage for those items under Extra Expense coverage. By the plain and clear terms of the policy, these items were also covered under Extra Expense. But Farmers found an excuse to wrongfully deny the claim in a textbook example of how not to interpret and apply insurance policies in California. Continue Reading Can Business Losses Be Covered Under Multiple Parts of Your Policy?

Nebraska’s Unfair Insurance Claims Settlement Practices Act, found at Neb. Rev. Stat. § 44-1535, et seq., does not allow for a private right of action. Under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 44-1537:

The purpose of the Unfair Insurance Claims Settlement Practices Act is to set forth standards for the investigation and disposition of claims arising under policies issued to residents of this state.

Continue Reading Nebraska Bad Faith Pleading and Requirements

Representing governmental entities regarding their insurance claims is very different than representing private individuals. At least this has been my experience after representing numerous governmental school districts, municipalities, ports, power authorities, and even judicial entities. The photo above is of me and Merlin Law Group attorney Javier Delgado. Javier and I have jointly been involved in governmental claims in Texas, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Experience means a lot in our business and Javier, who worked his way through law school as an insurance claims adjuster, has practical experience regarding how property insurance claims should be settled as well as legal experience about how governmental claims are often undervalued by insurance companies.

Most of these governmental entities have fantastic plans to help their constituents if a disaster strikes, but they usually have zero plans about what to do for their own insurance claim. Continue Reading Representing Governmental Entities For Their Insurance Claims When They Are Late To File Suit

As Hurricane Maria insurance claims continue to be litigated, we begin to see how trial courts in Puerto Rico are evaluating case by case the insurance code’s amendments such as the appraisal process. It has been a year since Puerto Rico’s Insurance Code was amended and one of the significant changes made was under law 242-2018,1 which added an “appraisal process” as an alternative to solve insurance claims. These and other amendments were discussed in my blog published on December 5, 2018, “Puerto Rico Approves Amendments to the Insurance Code to Protect Policyholders and Improve Claim Handling Procedures.” Continue Reading Can I Litigate An Insurance Claim During An Appraisal Process In Puerto Rico?