The Importance of Promptly Providing Notice of Loss

Most property insurance policies require that the insured must provide “prompt” notice of a loss as soon as possible after a covered loss. While many states throughout the country have adopted the Notice-Prejudice Rule which prevents an insurer from denying a claim unless it can demonstrate actual prejudice resulting from the delayed notice of loss, the District Court of Colorado recently issued an opinion rejecting this majority rule in first-party insurance contracts and instead applying the Traditional Notice Rule: Continue Reading

Court Rejects Jury Instruction Inconsistent with Concurrent Causation Doctrine; Remands for New Trial

In December of 2016, I wrote about Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company,1 where the Florida Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s adoption of the “Proximate Efficient Cause” doctrine and found that instead, the lower court should have applied the “Concurrent Causation Doctrine,” as laid out in Wallach v. Rosenberg,2 in a situation where both the excluded cause of faulty construction, combined with the covered causes of rain and wind resulted in a total loss to Sebo’s property. Continue Reading

California Department of Insurance Provides Notice that Mudslides are Covered Losses

Southern Californians impacted by the mudslides that followed the devastating wildfires in Ventura and Santa Barbara may see some light at the end of the tunnel with the big question of whether insurers will cover their mudslide loss. Over the last few week Californians have lost their homes when the rains brought homes down from the mountainsides ravaged by fire. With the vegetation gone, the hills and mountains simply could not hold during the heavy rains and mud flowed downhill at 20 miles per hour at what witnesses can only call a “wall of mud” that consumed homes and lives within its path. For many, this meant losing all worldly possessions when their houses slid down the hillside and were buried in mud. Even the ability to rebuild in the area is a question for many. Continue Reading

How Does the Ordinance Section of My Insurance Policy Affect the Florida “25% Rule”?

Section 708.1.1 of the Florida Building Code, often referred to as the “25% Rule,” implements guidelines for roof replacement requirements. The section states,

Not more than 25 percent of the total roof area or roof section of any existing building or structure shall be repaired, replaced or recovered in any 12-month period unless the entire roofing system or roof section conforms to requirements of this code. Continue Reading

Policyholders May Benefit From All Their Coverages

Following the devastating damages from Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma, homeowners and businesses alike examined their insurance coverages to assist their recovery. For most people that have never needed to use insurance benefits, or had only small claims, these policies may have seemed like just another large expense every year that mostly protected the bank on its lending. However, when a loss happens each insurance policy should be recognized as the asset it has always been, available to provide funding for large, unanticipated expenses. The case I discuss next illustrates why understanding insurance principles is so crucial to gathering all available policy benefits. Continue Reading

Does Entering Into a Land Contract for Replacement Property Satisfy the “Actual And Complete Replacement” and “Amount Actually Spent” Requirements for Replacement Cost Benefits?

Under the “Loss Settlement” provision in the typical homeowners property insurance policy, the insurer is not obligated to pay replacement cost benefits unless and until “actual repair or replacement is complete.” The “Loss Settlement” provision also limits the insurer’s replacement cost payment to the lesser of:

  • the limit of liability that applies to the building,
  • the replacement cost of that part of the building damaged for like construction and use on the same premises, or
  • the necessary amount actually spent to repair or replace the damaged building.1

Continue Reading

Certified Copy of the Policy…To the Best of Our Knowledge

TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE. . .

When determining if there is coverage for a claim, the first document attorneys, homeowners, and adjusters will look at is the policy. We often instruct adjusters or homeowners to request a certified copy of the policy to make sure that we have a complete, accurate copy. In that regard, it is often presumed that if you are provided with a “Certified Copy” it is accurate and the policy in place at the time of the loss. Continue Reading

Merlin Law Group Webinar – How Rancosky and other Pennsylvania Regulations Help Put You in the Adjustment Driver Seat

Join Robert Trautmann and myself, on February 16, 2018, at 2:00 pm for a free one-hour webinar to discuss the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania’s recent decision in Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Company,1 which upheld the current bad faith standards and specifically noted that an insured need not prove malicious intent to prevail on a bad faith claim. We’ll be going over this case in depth as well as other current case law that will help you better adjust claims in Pennsylvania.

You can sign up below:

Sign Up For This Webinar!

Hope you can join us!
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1 Rancosky v. Washington National Ins. Co., (Penn. Sept. 28, 2017).

Losses in Cyber-Space: Recovering Insurance Proceeds When Your Computer Data Can’t Be Recovered (Part One)

This is the first post in a three-part series about first-party coverage for losses of computer data.

Labor Day 2016 was a bad day for my client. That was the day her web host company hit the delete button, knocking her offline and completely wiping out her business website. Instead of celebrating a holiday weekend, she was dealing with a crisis. Continue Reading

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