Rene Sigman gave what must have been a humdinger of a speech about an alleged “ethical preferred contractor network.” She called out other co-presenters at the conference who are part of this network for selling out to the insurance industry. An audience member later said that other speakers affiliated with this allegedly new way of “preferred contractor networking” said nothing to rebut Rene or left after she made her remarks. While there is more to that story and new network that is ripe for a blog, Rene properly understands that these preferred contractor systems still leave the insurance company in charge. Worse, there is a new intermediary, usually the Third-Party Administrator (TPA), whose owners only want to make profits by helping the insurance company cut costs. Continue Reading Policyholders, Restoration Contractors, and Public Adjusters Should Be Concerned About Managed Repair and Third-Party Administrators Working in Preferred Contractor Networks

So, I have been in the property insurance claims business as an attorney for 16 years. During my time as a policyholder attorney advocate, I have helped thousands of claimants navigate the claims process that I have always described as a gauntlet. Continue Reading Fire Loss At My Home Makes My Eyes Wide Open About The Emotions Our Clients Feel During The Claims Process—Empathy Through Agony

Who has the burden of proof in a typical all-risk insurance policy which is now often referred to as an “open perils” policy? What does a policyholder typically have to prove to make a claim for property damage? These are fairly basic questions with answers that can become confusing when the burdens switch. Continue Reading Who Has the Burden to Prove the Cause of Property Damage? Those Burdens of Proof Can Switch!

Forfeiture is not often discussed when interpreting insurance policy terms. But it should be. Often, when a policyholder fails to do something timely or does something wrong, the insurance company counsel is heard in court arguing for a knockout punch to the policyholders pocket—“give the policyholder no money.” Continue Reading Forfeiture of Insurance Contract Benefits Is Not Favored in The Law

With the devastating strength and power these hurricanes were bringing, the last thing on anyone’s mind was these hurricanes throwing additional blows to areas that seemed outside of their “cone.” However, those of us that went through Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (and even those watching from areas outside those directly affected) recall all the news stations announcing tornado watches and warnings for over 24-hours with each storm. I recall the meteorologists’ predictions of which storm cells in the bands of these hurricanes had rotation and were producing tornados. Continue Reading Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Produced Tornados and Tornadic Activity Across Texas and Florida

As a follow up to my colleague, Shaun Marker’s series, In Florida, An Appraisal Award May Be A Final Determination Of Liability For A Bad Faith Case, posted August 30, September 8, and September 15, 2014, I wanted to take a moment and highlight the cases that have come out since Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company,1 that further underscore the principle that a first party property bad faith suit can be ripe absent an actual finding that the insurer breached the contract. Continue Reading More on the Ripeness of Bad Faith in First-Party Property Cases in Florida

After Superstorm Sandy, Shaun Marker published a series of articles about damages that were caused to properties by boats on land. In the series, So I Have A Boat In My Front Yard Following Super Storm Sandy; Will My Flood Insurer Cover The Removal Of It And Other Non-Owned Debris?, Marker discussed how boats that washed ashore would be covered under standard flood and excess flood policies. But boats weren’t the only thing washing up on land, debris from Superstorm Sandy included parts of structures, docks, plants and sand galore, and coverage for boats and debris were also addressed in his series.

Continue Reading Storm Damage to the Dock – Marina’s Insurance Excluded Coverage

Depending on who you talk to, some would say that our economy has recovered or improved since the recent recession. However, there are many individuals—in particular, homeowners—who are in financial difficulty and have no option but to file for bankruptcy. If you are going through the bankruptcy process, and you have an insurance claim pending, it is imperative you list or disclose the claim in the bankruptcy petition or amend if you have to. Here is the reason why.

Continue Reading Homeowners: Insurance Claims Must Be Disclosed if Filing for Bankruptcy