(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the eigth of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

Normally I have steered away from giving certain answers when it comes to the requirements of submitting a Proof of Loss. Most of the topics I have discussed thus far have a myriad of exceptions which might provide coverage even if the terms of the policy have not been completely complied with. While these possibilities do exist in many homeowners policies, the one place you can count on a mistake serving as a basis for denying your claim is when you are dealing with s National Flood Insurance Policy. The requirements of the Standard Flood Policy are pretty clear and failing to follow them to the letter can be devastating.

Continue Reading Proofs of Loss and the Standard Flood Policy

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the seventh of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

The last two weeks I have discussed some of the basic aspects of an insurer’s ability to expressly or impliedly waive its right to a Proof of Loss. While it is important to note that an insured’s post loss obligations can be waived, it is equally important to know and understand who has the authority to bind the insurer with their words and/or actions. Therefore, I will finish up my discussion of waiver by discussing some of the individuals who may have the ability to waive the Proof requirement. Please note that in this post when I refer to an insurer’s “agent” I am not necessarily referring to an “insurance agent.” Instead I am referring to anyone who is acting on behalf of the insurer in dealing with the claim.

Continue Reading Proof of Loss: Waiver Part III

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the sixth of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

As was discussed in my last post, Proof of Loss: Waiver, Part I, if possible you should file a Proof of Loss in the applicable timeframe. Not doing so can cause a myriad of problems and under some policies, National Flood Insurance, for example, can provide the insurer an excuse for denying the claim all together. As previously discussed, however, there are some circumstances in which an insurer may waive the requirement of filing a Proof of Loss. Last week we discussed that express waiver occurs when an insurer explicitly states, either orally or in writing, that the filing of a Proof will not be required. This week we will focus on implied waiver, or waiver which occurs as a result of the actions and/or conduct of the insurer.

Continue Reading Proof of Loss: Wavier Part II

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the fifth of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

Let me begin here by saying that this is only intended to be a general overview of some of the instances where an insurance company may have waived its Proof of Loss requirement. Determining whether a waiver has indeed occurred is usually very fact specific and can vary in different jurisdictions. Proof of Loss requirements under the National Flood Insurance Program, for instance, are very strict and allow waiver only in very limited circumstances. Thus, any waiver questions should be viewed and analyzed on a case by case basis.

Continue Reading Proof of Loss: Waiver, Part I

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the fourth of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

As I was watching one of the countless news reports detailing the current mortgage crisis and its effects on homeowners, I began to think of the insurance consequences of homeowners being forced to give up and hand over the keys to their houses. What would happen, I wondered, if a homeowner was to have a covered loss but fail to submit a proof of loss because of a pending foreclosure?

Continue Reading Mortgage Company Protections When an Insured Fails to Submit a Proof of Loss

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the third of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

As I have stated in past installments, the language and terms of insurance policies can differ in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is extremely important to know and understand the terms of the policy when making a claim. A great example of this is the terms of the policy that control who may submit a Proof of Loss and how that submission must take place.

Continue Reading Getting Back to the Basics: Who may Submit a Proof of Loss and to Whom may it be Submitted?

Corey Harris is writing an excellent series on Proofs of Loss Issues. He is primarily focusing on the basic workings of Proofs of Loss. The point of this post is to remind everybody that there are little exceptions that vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction regarding the filing of proofs of loss. Any public adjuster, attorney or policyholder faced with preparing and submitting paperwork needed for a proof of loss should be very familiar with the laws in the jurisdiction which is applicable.

Continue Reading Proofs of Loss and Suit Limitation Periods: A Warning About Delaying the Filing of Proofs of Loss

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the second of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

So here you are, only a short time after your home or business has been destroyed by a hurricane, wildfire, or some other form of Mother Nature’s wrath. You have spent countless hours meeting with your adjuster, insurance company, and various contractors, attempting to pick up the pieces and move forward. Things seemingly could not get any worse, until you received that letter from your insurance company requesting that you submit a Proof of Loss. So what now? Do you really have to put in the time and effort necessary to submit a proper Proof?

Continue Reading Getting Back to the Basics: What Happens if a Proof of Loss is not Submitted, is

(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is the first of a twelve part series he is writing on proof of loss).

“You can’t do anything until you learn the basics!” Growing up, I remember countless teachers, coaches, and instructors pounding that phrase into my head. Whether it was a golf instructor desperately hoping that my next swing would send the ball into the fairway and not the neighboring house’s living room, or a wrestling coach wielding a plastic whiffleball bat as a constant reminder to stay in a good stance even when we were exhausted, this lesson has been engrained in me for as long as I can remember. I guess it should come as no surprise then, that when I expressed an interest in having some time on this blog, Chip Merlin, my current coach and mentor, wanted me to write about, what else, the basics! Therefore, for the next twelve weeks, we will be delving into one of the most basic, but important, post-loss obligations: “The Proof of Loss.”

Continue Reading Getting Back to the Basics: What is a Proof of Loss, and What Purpose Does it Serve?

I often give speeches and challenge those in the audience to better themselves through education and joining with others in endeavors so that, by mutual experience, the best practices can be copied for current and future policyholder clients. I feel like I have done this with the addition of nine new attorneys into our firm on Monday.

Continue Reading How Do We Get Better and Be the Best at Helping Policyholders?