If you have ever appraised a loss in Minnesota, chances are it was more akin to an arbitration than a traditional appraisal under an insurance policy. That might change given the recent opinion by the Minnesota Supreme Court in Oliver v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Insurance Company., 2020 WL 1041113 (Minn. March 4, 2020).
Continue Reading The Uniform Arbitration Act Does Not Apply to Appraisal

A few years ago, I asked Merlin Law Group attorney Doug Grose, “How did we end up in arbitration in London, England with policy delivered in Texas, a loss in Houston, Texas and our client from Houston, Texas?” He told me there was an arbitration provision and the federal court ordered us to go to arbitration in London because that is where the policy required the arbitration take place. I asked Doug: ”Geez, forgetting the extraordinary increased cost to our client do this, what chance do you think we have in arbitration in London against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London?”
Continue Reading Choice of Law and Arbitration Provisions in Texas—Beware of These Provisions Which May Apply Laws of Another State

In Florida, certain first-party property cases are being ordered to non-binding arbitration. Under the statute and the State’s procedural rules, a Florida court may refer a civil case to arbitration before going to trial.1 While every case is different, resolving a case before trial can sometimes be favorable (e.g., through mediation). Participating in a non-binding arbitration is one way for early resolution. However, despite its name, a non-binding arbitration is not inherently devoid of risk and can have repercussions.
Continue Reading What Can You Expect at a Court Ordered Non-Binding Arbitration?

In an historic win for American consumers and workers, on September 20, 2019, the U. S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1423, the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal or FAIR Act,1 by a vote of 225 to 186. This groundbreaking bill could be the beginning of the demise of the remedy-stripping, rights-stomping, forced arbitration clauses in contracts of adhesion. Arbitration is often referred to an alternative dispute resolution—meaning an alternative to the litigation of a dispute.
Continue Reading Is It the Beginning of the End for Forced Arbitration Clauses? Let’s Hope

Lloyd’s of London

Hurricane Michael policyholders, public adjusters, contractors and agents must check their policies to make certain that there is not a one-year deadline to start arbitration. The above photo is Lloyds at London. Lloyds is a place where surplus lines insurers do business and it is not an insurance company. Many of the Lloyds Underwriters have placed obscure arbitration provisions into their policies which mandate that New York law with a one-year limitation to start the arbitration.
Continue Reading Hurricane Michael Policyholders, Public Adjusters, Contractors, and Agents Warning About Some Policies With One Year Limitations To File Arbitration

“Oh, Boy!” was my first thought after reading a case which holds that those arbitration agreements requiring policyholders to arbitrate in far-away places could not be stopped by state law. Congress should stop this, and state legislators should write laws to ban those insurance carriers who sell such policies.
Continue Reading Arbitration Provision In Insurance Policy Applies Because Federal Arbitration Act Supersedes State Law Making Such Clauses Illegal

A Florida based insurance agent educator asked me for my thoughts about how arbitration clauses harm policyholders and provide less coverage. He was referencing my earlier post this week, Arbitration Clause Requiring New York Law and New York Arbitration Cited as Avoidance of Florida Lawsuit—Another Instance of Surplus Lines Insurer Abuse in Florida.
Continue Reading Surplus Lines Carriers Select Arbitration and Choice of Law in New York to Pay Less Coverage and Less on Claims

Insurance Law360 is part of my daily reading and it tipped me off to a case which raises the same problem about arbitration, I noted in Should Insurance Agents Get Sued for Selling Insurance Which Requires Arbitration in a Far Away Location and Deprives Their Customers of Consumer Protection Laws? and Arbitration Is an Increasing Trend Found Within Property Insurance Policies, and Arbitration is Not Appraisal.
Continue Reading Arbitration Clause Requiring New York Law and New York Arbitration Cited as Avoidance of Florida Lawsuit—Another Instance of Surplus Lines Insurer Abuse in Florida

The photograph above depicts the Merlin Law Group “War Room” during a week-long arbitration last week. Michael Duffy, Ian Dankelman, Eric Dickey, and Kelly Kubiak were the winning Merlin Law Group team obtaining a $3.1 million award on Saturday. What a way to start off the year!
Continue Reading Arbitration Is an Increasing Trend Found Within Property Insurance Policies, and Arbitration is Not Appraisal