The Louisiana legislature heard a lot of testimony and complaints about property insurance carriers that were not only slow-paying but also far too low-paying on hurricane claims following Hurricane Ida. The stories were similar to the post earlier this week where a federal judge found an insurance company guilty of bad faith for slow payment in Claim Delay Leads to Bad Faith Judgement. Continue Reading Slow and Lowball Paying Insurance Companies—Why Is It Happening?
The title to this post was my reaction after reading a Virginia trial court opinion sent to me from Karl Dennison of Goodman, Gable & Gould (aka The Three G’s.) Insurance companies always have disputes about what is damaged and not damaged from a hailstorm. They always cite exclusions of pre-existing damage, pre-existing wear and tear, and various other reasons for not paying all the damages claimed from a hailstorm. If the appraisers are not allowed to sort out these controversies, almost no hailstorm loss would ever resolve via an appraisal that is usually, but not always, faster and less expensive than litigation. Continue Reading Why Go To Appraisal If You Cannot Determine The Loss?
Policyholders do not study all the forms available for coverage, nor do they typically understand how policies can be tailored to provide better coverage through endorsements. In a recent blog about soft costs under a builders risk policy, Builders Risk Insurance and Soft Costs Claims, I noted the importance of selecting an experienced insurance agent that knows the builders risk area with great expertise: Continue Reading Pick A Great Insurance Agent When Deciding Upon Builders Risk Coverage
Insurance companies have an obligation to promptly investigate coverage and evaluate damages when adjusting a first party property insurance claim. When an insurer fails to do this, it has failed to act in good faith. A federal court in Washington recently found the same as a matter of law.1 Continue Reading Claim Delay Leads to Bad Faith Judgement
Federal common law interpreting the rules and regulations of the National Flood Program is usually not helpful to policyholders. It has truly become a situation where technical, literal rules are followed to the letter of the law rather than any intent or spirit for why the rule was written. In this “form over substance” common law, which federal judges feel compelled to follow, an important lesson is to follow those rules in an exacting manner or risk losing insurance benefits. One recent case held that an attorney at law, while acting with authority for the client, cannot sign the proof of loss form for the policyholder client.1 Continue Reading Policyholders and Not Their Attorneys Need to Sign Flood Proof of Loss Forms
In the wake of Hurricane Ida, many adjusters and contractors are headed to the State of Louisiana to assist in the assessment of damages and clean up. While heading into Louisiana, it is important to closely read the insurance policies. Continue Reading A Reminder to Out of State Public Adjusters and Contractors Working in Louisiana
What “soft costs” of a construction project are covered in a builders risk insurance claim is a frequent question posed. For policyholders, contractors, and those about to undergo a construction project, one of the most important actions to take is retaining an insurance agent who is well versed with construction builders risk policies because the amounts of coverage, especially for the soft costs, can vary widely from various forms of insurance available on the market. Continue Reading Builders Risk Insurance and Soft Costs Claims
Merlin Law Group attorneys Javier Delgado and Tony Loe successfully won a jury trial arising from a Hurricane Michael trial in Panama City, Florida, last week. When I spoke with Javier Delgado shortly after the verdict, Javier said that the “jury awarded every penny Tony asked for in his closing argument.” The defendant insurance company was Tower Hill. Continue Reading Policyholder Grateful For Hurricane Michael Trial Win
I was appointed by the court as the liaison coverage counsel for the putative class members in the collapse of the Champlain Towers South. This week, a team of extraordinarily skilled lawyers that I have been working with filed an amended complaint explaining how we currently believe this catastrophe happened. It is a very sad matter. It is hard to be witness to the horrible aftermath the victims and their families live with. Continue Reading The Champlain Towers Collapse Catastrophe and Purchasing the Right Insurance
One of the basic duties which public adjusters are supposed to accomplish for their policyholder clients is to evaluate the amount of damage and properly file a proof of loss if one is required. I was thinking about this while reading a fairly recent Florida case1 where a public adjuster failed to file a proof of loss on behalf of the policyholder despite the insurance company demanding one in writing. This failure to file a proof of loss cost the policyholder an otherwise valid claim. Continue Reading Public Adjusters Owe a Duty to Properly Comply with Proof of Loss Requirements