The California and Colorado wildfires are the most recent natural disasters to highlight the pervasive underinsurance problem. United Policyholders has been in the forefront pushing an agenda to end this problem. But there continues to be push back from the insurance industry about making products and practices which will correct the problem. Continue Reading Everybody Recognizes that Underinsurance of Structures is a Systemic Problem. Will the Insurance Industry or its Regulators do Something to Correct It?

The insurance-to-value questions and concerns of underinsurance come up every time an insurance agent selling property insurance makes an application or oversees a renewal of a property insurance policy. Bill Wilson is an experienced insurance agent and insurance agent educator. When he talks insurance, those of us in the insurance business should listen. Continue Reading The Underinsurance Gap: Who Is Truly in a Better Situation To Determine the Full Amount of Property Insurance Required on a Structure?

Have you ever read and viewed ads by attorneys who feign that by being what they claim is “aggressive,” they are “badass?” Lawyers can say and advertise anything on social media. Merlin Law Group sought out and is proud to have hired Harrece “Rece” Gassery, who truly served as a “badass” Marine infantry officer. Rece was deployed in Iraq and then Afghanistan. Thank you, Rece, for your service. Welcome to Merlin Law Group. Now you get to fight for American policyholders ripped off by their insurance companies. Continue Reading Ooh-rah!! Merlin Law Group Hires a Marine Attorney in Louisiana

The Colorado Division of Insurance got an earful from Colorado policyholders dealing with insurance claim problems at a virtual town hall meeting last night. The event, Insurance Town Hall – Partial Losses in the Boulder Fires & Straight Line Winds, had panelists discussing the issues of soot, ash, and char claims following the recent Marshall Fire. Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway was obviously frustrated hearing how Coloradans are being treated with their claims. He stated that “his blood pressure was going up” and that he intended to call Liberty Mutual and Travelers. The event was recorded and will be on the Division’s website. Continue Reading Soot, Ash, and Char Claims Are Hot Topic At Colorado Insurance Commission Virtual Town Hall Meeting

The recent Colorado wildfires have highlighted a countrywide claims issue for residential homeowners having total losses—most are far underinsured. Insurance agent commentator Bill Wilson recently published a blog on the topic: Another Cautionary Tale of Underinsurance. While there are myriad reasons for this epidemic of homes being underinsured to replacement value, Wilson’s post noted in part:

One would think that, among the parties involved in the insurance process – insureds, insurer, and if an agent was involved, the agent – someone would have questioned the large gap between purchase price and homeowners Coverage A limit.

The insurer is identified in the story and my first thought was that the insurer needs to reimagine their ‘You only pay for what you need’ sales pitch. Maybe, ‘We only pay for what you buy’ or ‘You only pay for what you mistakenly bought.’

Continue Reading The Wildfire Underinsurance Gap

A Florida circuit court trial judge ruled against Tower Hill Insurance and US Forensics today in their attempt to dismiss a RICO lawsuit filed against them by a contractor.1 This state court case was previously reported in Contractor Fights Back Against Tower Hill and US Forensic.

This same contractor filed a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) lawsuit last week against a separate insurer and adjusters alleging that they “conspired to lie and submit false reports and estimates for the purpose of being able to deny or underpay insurance claims related to” Hurricane Irma losses. This federal lawsuit was noted in Lawsuit Alleges Field Adjusters Stated Under Oath That Florida Based Insurer Commanded That Reports Be Altered To Reduce Or Deny Claims—Did Insurers Do This To Dupe Florida Legislators?

Allegations in complaints are not evidence. Given the interest by the property insurance claims community in these cases, we will timely keep readers of this blog abreast of events as they develop.
1 Tower Hill Signature Ins. Co. v. SFR Services, LLC, No.20-000409-CA [Omnibus Order on Counter-Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Counter-Plantiff’s Counterclaim] (Fla. Cir. Ct. Jan. 18, 2022).

Merlin Law Group attorneys Chris Mammel and Tamara Chen-See won an appraisal case pending before the 10th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.1 The court ruled that the factual determination of damage to brick siding caused by a hailstorm is a factual matter for appraisal and not a coverage issue. The ruling was similar to the recent Connecticut Supreme Court holding involving matching noted in Matching is a Factual Determination and Can Be Resolved by Appraisal. Continue Reading Insurers Cannot Escape Appraisal Arguing Factual Determinations of Damage Create Coverage Issues