Steve Badger and Chip Merlin

Steve Badger has certainly made his mark Texas property insurance law over the last decade. Bob Norton has similarly made a name for himself over the same period of time by forming the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association (IAUA) and getting some of the top legal talent and practitioners in the insurance industry teaching at IAUA programs.
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The Florida Third District Court of Appeals recently held that the policyholder’s public adjuster cannot be the policyholder’s appraiser.1 This decision will have a major impact on appraisals because many public adjusters act as their own appraisers. It should be assumed that the insurance company’s adjusters cannot act as appraisers as well. The decision should be reviewed by all public adjusters, appraisers and umpires that handle appraisals.
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Steve Patrick

Appraisal was the topic of conversation between Steve Badger and me at the Denver IAUA conference. Colorado appraisals have been a matter of much litigation and controversy in Colorado. For some reason, appraisal law has been in great flux and controversy in Colorado versus the vast majority of states where appraisals seem to go along just fine, and claims go away. The recent Colorado Supreme Court case was blogged about in Appraisal and the Impartiality of Appraisers.
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Recently, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Owners Ins. Co. v. Dakota Station II Condominium Association,1 on appraiser impartiality. Specifically, the court discussed the meaning and interpretation of impartiality under the insurance policy and whether a contingent-cap fee agreement between the appraiser and Dakota Station rendered the appraiser not impartial as a matter of law.
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Current Justices of the Texas Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court recently answered the question above in two cases with different results depending on what type of insurance code violations the insured is alleging. The court addressed Texas Insurance Code chapter 542 violations (often called prompt payment of claims) in Barbara Technologies Corporation v. State Farm Lloyds.1
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Rene Sigman – Head of Texas Litigation

Rene Sigman of Merlin Law Group’s Houston office was getting some pretty good results for clients this week when she sent me a Texas Supreme Court appraisal case which makes delaying insurers more accountable for inaccurate or plain wrongful estimates of the benefits owed to policyholders. All this Texas good news had me thinking “Yippee-Yi-Yo-Ki-Yay!”
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Rhode Island Priest Giving Pre-Race Blessing For Crew of Merlin (click image to view video)

Rhode Island appraisals are treated very similar to Florida appraisals. The general rule is that unless the claim is denied for coverage, the parties must go to appraisal if it is demanded. Insurers seeking to avoid appraisal need to specifically indicate why the dispute is subject to a coverage denial and must be litigated.
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