Solar Power and Homeowners Insurance: Watts Up?

Nearly a year ago, California became the first state to mandate that all new homes have solar power.1 The regulation becomes effective January 1, 2020. Under the new rules, individual homes must have rooftop solar panels or share a solar-power system with a group of homes. According to the New York Times, the California regulation is expected to add $8,000 to $12,000 to the cost of a new home.2 Predictions are that the solar power will save heating and cooling costs as much as $80.00 a month, not to mention a positive cut to greenhouse gas emissions. Before taxes, an installed rooftop solar energy system can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $25,000 depending on size of kilowatts. Only time will tell if the economic advantage of having solar panels will outweigh the upfront costs of installation. Continue Reading

The Marcal Paper Fire: A Sad Demise to a New Jersey Landmark

On January 30, 2019, New Jersey residents suffered a tremendous loss. Marcal Paper, in Elmwood Park, New Jersey on the edge of Route 80, burned to the ground. Along with it, 80 years of a family owned business, jobs, community, and an iconic sign that lit up Route 80 were lost. Continue Reading

How To File A Complaint With The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts, Division Of Insurance About Your Delaying, Denying And Bad Treating Insurance Company

The Massachusetts Consumer Service Department responds to inquiries and assists consumers in resolving insurance complaints against insurers, producers and other licensees. Consumer Services also advises consumers of their options and rights under their policies, state laws and regulations. They maintain a database which has an inventory of all written complaints and inquiries received from the public. Continue Reading

Safe Construction Worksite Inspections to Increase—Include OSHA Costs to Residential Insurance Estimates

A contractor sent me a note from the National Roofing Contractors Association which indicates that the Trump administration is increasing the manpower of safety inspectors and whistleblower investigators regarding construction worksite safety. The note was based on an article, Labor Secretary: OSHA Jobsite inspections Likely to Increase, which stated:

• In a written statement to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, Acosta said OSHA hired 76 new inspectors in the 2018 fiscal year and that it would be anywhere from a year to three years before they will be ready to conduct field inspections on their own. Even so, he told subcommittee members that OSHA had conducted 32,000 inspections each year in 2017 and 2018, an increase from 2016 figures.

• President Donald Trump, he said, is requesting $557 million for OSHA in his Fiscal Year 2020 budget request, an increase from last year, which would pay for additional staff, including 30 additional compliance officers and five more whistleblower investigators. Continue Reading

Alabama Allows Abnormal Bad Faith—Is Auto-Owners Calling Its Customers’ Fraud Bad Faith?

Bad faith cases really should be named “lack of good faith” cases because the duty is on the insurance company to act in the utmost of good faith and fair dealing with the policyholder. “Bad” has nothing to do with it. Alabama, however, carries the “bad faith” definition one step further by delineating a cause of action for “abnormal bad faith.” Continue Reading

How To File A Complaint With The Ohio Department of Insurance About Your Delaying, Denying and Bad Treating Insurance Company

If an insured in Ohio (“Ohioan”) is being mistreated by a delaying, denying, and bad treating insurance company, the Ohioan always has the option of voicing his or her displeasure to the Ohio Department of Insurance (“ODI”) via Complaint. The submission of a Complaint to ODI prompts an investigation by ODI into the insurance carrier’s handling of the Ohioan’s loss. Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael Victims Should Not Be Shaken Down By Unlicensed Contractors Selling AOB’s To Third-Party Crooks

A public adjuster alerted me to a Hurricane Michael policyholder being “shaken down” by a third party who allegedly purchased an AOB from an unlicensed contractor. What makes it worse is that the policyholder is being confronted by the third party and a person holding himself out to be an attorney. Continue Reading

Explaining Xactimate Accuracy and the Need to Analyze Details Before Getting the Wrong Turkey Dinner From the Insurance Company Estimator

Chip Merlin & Jeff Major

Insurance estimating expert Jeff Major gave one of the best speeches about Xactimate I have ever seen at the First Party Claims Conference West. I have seen Jeff give a number of presentations over the years, even teaching federal judges, magistrates, and mediators following Superstorm Sandy. But his warning about getting an insurance company’s “turkey dinner” Xactimate construction estimate is his latest masterpiece. Continue Reading

How To File A Complaint With The Hawaii Department of Insurance About Your Delaying, Denying and Bad Treating Insurance Company

Hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes are the most common natural disasters to impact the State of Hawaii. The 2018 Hawaii hurricane season was one of the most destructive in recent memory, with six hurricanes hitting the islands. 2018 also brought the lower Puna volcano eruption. Continue Reading