This well-known idiom alludes to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details.1 Policyholders purchase insurance to protect and secure their property. Unfortunately, many carriers do not disclose provisions that limit their policyholders’ rights in the event a dispute arises.

Continue Reading The Devil Is In the Details. What Did Your Premium Discount Actually Cost You?

Arbitration provisions are becoming more common in surplus lines policies. These provisions affect how disputes will be resolved and where they will be resolved and can impact the legal rights of property insurance policyholders. These clauses are becoming so prevalent that I wrote a blog asking, Will Arbitration Be the New Appraisal?
Continue Reading Check For Arbitration Provisions In Surplus Lines Policies

The first standard fire insurance policy was mandated by Massachusetts in 1873.1 For those interested in the older standard insurance policies, Rough Notes published a book briefly discussing the early history of standard fire insurance policies called The Standard Fire Policy.2
Continue Reading The First Standard Fire Policy—Did It Contain an Arbitration Clause Rather Than an Appraisal Clause?

The title to this post was a question posed to me by a number of people following an April Fool’s Day Insurance Journal article, With Florida Rulings, Will More Insurers Require Arbitration in Claims Disputes? The Insurance Journal noted that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation approved a policy form calling for mediation and then arbitration for the resolution of property insurance disputes:
Continue Reading Is Arbitration Going to Replace Appraisal in Florida?

Read the full policy after the loss—RTFP. When doing so, it is also important to check for the manner in which disputes are to be resolved and the applicable rules, including the time frames to invoke them. This is especially true with foreign insurers where an arbitration provision will apply.
Continue Reading Check For Arbitration Provisions—Especially When Dealing With Foreign Insurers

The reaction and calls from those involved with appraisal to the post, Is Appraisal Governed Under the Federal Arbitration Act? have generated a great deal of concern. The emotion was near panic from those who make a living as appraisers asking how to get approved as an arbitrator. Others simply asked what does this practically mean—will the process change
Continue Reading If Appraisal Is Governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, What Is the Process?

Arbitration clauses primarily found in surplus lines policies with a choice of law provision generally selecting New York law and a shortened statute of limitations are a trap for unwary public adjusters and attorneys. A recent federal appellate court case upheld such a clause despite a state law making it illegal. The holding of the case suggests just how complicated of a legal issue this is:

This appeal presents an issue of first impression in this circuit that lies at the intersection of international, federal, and state law: whether the McCarran-Ferguson Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1011–15, allows a Washington statute to reverse-preempt the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, a multilateral treaty. We conclude that the relevant provision of the Convention is self-executing, and therefore not an “Act of Congress” subject to reverse-preemption by the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Accordingly, we affirm the district court’s order compelling arbitration.1


Continue Reading Public Adjusters Beware of Arbitration Clauses Changing State Law