Hurricane Season is Back and Predicted Near of Above Normal

Now that we are in June, Atlantic hurricane season is officially upon us. I write this while sitting in our Houston office that was closed less ten months ago following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation. Many homes and businesses are still damaged and Houston continues to feel the effects of Harvey. However, let’s take a moment to look ahead to the 2018 hurricane season. Continue Reading

The Standard Fire Policy 60-Day Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition

Last November in my blogpost, Does the Standard Fire Policy Vacancy/Unoccupancy Condition Apply to a Fire Loss Occurring within Sixty Days of the Inception of Coverage, I discussed how courts have measured vacancy/unoccupancy when a loss occurs within sixty days of the inception of coverage; but, the insured property had been vacant or unoccupied for more than sixty days prior to the effective date of coverage. Continue Reading

Merlin Lawyers Permitted To Allege A Claim For “Bad Faith”

In April 2008, Minnesota’s Legislature passed a bill enacting Minnesota Statues Section 604.18, often referred to as Minnesota’s “Good Faith Law,” which creates a cause of action for first-party bad faith. Under section 604.18, an insured can seek damages from his or her own insurer if the insurer does not act in good faith when denying the benefits under an insurance policy. Continue Reading

Is Duct Work Considered Part of a Home’s Air Conditioning “System”?

Certain types of water damage are likely to fall under a water exclusion clause such as damage caused by flood, tsunami, standing water, groundwater and drain or sewage backup. Despite these categories, disputes often arise whether damages caused by water are covered under the standard homeowner’s policy. The type of water damage that may be covered depends on the source of loss, the policy, and if the water loss is accidental and sudden or gradual. Continue Reading

Ashley Harris Cited by Iowa Supreme Court Regarding Causation Issues in Appraisal Proceedings

Ashley Harris

The Iowa Supreme Court determined that “appraisers may determine the factual cause of damage to insured property to ascertain the amount of loss,” in Walnut Creek Townhome Association vs Depositors Insurance Company.1 I am proud that Ashley Smith (nka Ashley Harris) was cited by the court for her analysis of the issue. Continue Reading

Colorado Supreme Court Clarifies Unreasonable Delay or Denial Statute

The Colorado Supreme Court issued two opinions favorable to Colorado policyholders earlier this week:

  1. American Family Mutual Insurance Company v. Barriga; and
  2. Rooftop Restoration, Inc. v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company.

Both cases address the unreasonable delay or denial of insurance benefits statute in Colorado. This post addresses the Barriga opinion, and the Rooftop Restoration, Inc. will be discussed in the coming days. Continue Reading

Why California Insurance Reform Can Improve Disaster Recovery in the Future

As many Californians continue to repair, rebuild, and regain financial health after the disasters throughout the State, many are looking at insurance reform as a solution for the future. Insurers should provide the funds due to individuals and businesses after a disaster, but as surveys have shown, these funds don’t always flow as they should.1 Continue Reading

What is a Collapse? Crumbling Concrete Case is Catalyst for Coverage Query Certified to State Supreme Court

Recognizing the public policy implications of an unsettled, recurring coverage issue involving crumbling concrete foundations in thousands of Connecticut homes, U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill recently certified the following insurance coverage question to the Supreme Court of Connecticut:

What constitutes a “substantial impairment of structural integrity” for purposes of applying the “collapse” provision of this homeowners’ insurance policy?1 Continue Reading