In Arizona, the statute of limitations for a cause of action for insurance benefits will begin to run from the date the insurer committed a breach, unless the policy states otherwise (i.e., from the “inception of” or “date of” loss). Typically, this means from the date the insurer denies claim benefits to its insured.1
Continue Reading Are You at Odds with Your Insurer in Arizona? An Outline on Initiating Litigation in the Grand Canyon State

In prior blog posts on assignment of contingent benefits, I discussed the distinction between assignments of contingent benefits and assignments of noncontingent benefits under a property insurance policy. For the purpose of this post, a contingent benefit is a benefit or payment that is either not yet fixed in amount or regarding which the carrier is not yet obligated to provide because additional, specific conditions of the policy have not yet been fulfilled or excused. Noncontingent benefits are those for which all conditions have been fulfilled or excused and the carrier’s obligation to provide the benefits (such as a payment) has accrued.
Continue Reading Assignment of Contingent Benefits in Arizona

It is well established in Arizona that an insurance “carrier has an obligation to immediately conduct an adequate investigation, act reasonably in evaluating the claim, and act promptly in paying a legitimate claim.”1 The Arizona Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act likewise provides that a carrier shall not “[r]efuse to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information.2 In all aspects of investigating or evaluating a claim, an insurance carrier is required to give as much consideration to the policyholder’s interests as it does to its own interests.3 So much so, that “Indifference to facts or failure to investigate [by a carrier is] sufficient to establish the tort of bad faith” against the carrier.4
Continue Reading Be Sure to Tell Your Carrier the Reason Why Your Witness is Significant to Their Investigation

Papago State Park

A few weeks ago I traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona for a deposition. After the deposition concluded, I had a little bit of time before my flight home, so I stopped by Papago State Park in Phoenix to take in some of Arizona’s beauty and to take a few photographs (including the one above). This week in my series on insurable interests, we travel to the Copper State (aka the Grand Canyon State) to take a look at how insurable interests are defined.

Continue Reading Insurable Interests Defined: A Blog Series – Episode Three, Arizona

In Arizona, there is a six year statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim. However, Arizona law permits an insurance company to contractually shorten the statute of limitations period by which the policyholder must file suit, so it is likely that the limitations period could be as short as one or two years from the date of loss. My colleague Kenneth Kan previously discussed this in Arizona: How Long Does a Policyholder Have to File Suit Under an Insurance Policy?

Continue Reading Arizona Statute of Limitations for Bad Faith

From time to time, I am asked by homeowners about cancellation of their homeowner insurance policies by the insurance company. Questions include: Must the insurance company provide a reason for the cancellation? Should I have received from the insurance company a notice of cancellation in writing?

Continue Reading What Makes a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cancellation Effective? – Arizona Coverage Series

In my prior blogs on Arizona insurance law, I discussed how insurance companies cannot simply get off the hook if a policyholder submits a claim late or files a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired. In those instances, an insurance company cannot avoid accepting or paying a claim (assuming there is coverage) unless it can show that it suffered actual prejudice from the policyholder’s delay. The same holds true for a proof of loss.

Continue Reading Proof of Loss and the “Prejudice” Rule – Arizona Coverage Series

Unless you live in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or in the Sahara outside of the U.S., you are probably not familiar with haboobs. What on earth is a haboob? Well, picture the sandstorm in the movie “The Mummy” (1999), but without the menacing face. Yes, a haboob (“strong wind” in Arabic) is also known as a sandstorm or dust storm. Haboobs occur in dry regions and form when winds or downdrafts from a thunderstorm reach the ground, blowing dust up from the desert and creating a wall of dust that sometimes can stretch for many miles.

Continue Reading What on Earth is a Haboob? – Arizona Coverage Series