CAPIA, the California Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, held its annual meeting last week, and I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to attend. Along with meeting some of the finest policyholder advocates in the state, there were multiple informational and thought-provoking presentations related to the industry.
Continue Reading Timing of Loss Computation, Your Policy, and the California Insurance Code

California statutory law known as the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) bars “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice” and gives courts the powers to fashion relief where money alone won’t be sufficient. Of course, this begs the question: Can an insured sue their insurer for violating the UCL? A recent federal district court ruling says no, at least when the case is a straightforward breach of contract and bad faith case.
Continue Reading Can I Sue My Insurer under the California Unfair Competition Law?

Like many states, California law makes it difficult to sue for being “underinsured.” The law places the primary responsibility for securing enough coverage and the right kinds on the insured. An insurance company, agent or broker has no duty at law to recommend any particular coverages or limits. However, they are liable if they fail to procure the agreed upon coverage, make a misrepresentation about how the coverage works, or fail to fulfill some other “special duty” they voluntarily undertook.
Continue Reading California Court Rejects Another Half-Baked Underinsurance Case

Not every insurance claim requires expert involvement. However, when a dispute arises, identifying and retaining an expert can be invaluable, not only for final resolution but in keeping a claim open and alive. For example, in Vargas v. State Farm General Insurance Company,1 the Central District of California issued an order denying State Farm’s motion for summary judgment, relying on the well-reasoned and succinctly stated opinions of Plaintiff’s expert, Sandra Watts.
Continue Reading Expert Involvement in a Dispute Can Be Beneficial at Every Mile Marker of the Claim Resolution Marathon

With wildfire season in full swing, it is worth revisiting the laws surrounding the deadlines to file suit and ensuring that coverage counsel properly writes the lawsuit to avoid dismissal. Last week, a federal court ruled that an insured’s lawsuit was filed too late based on the allegations the insured herself set forth. The court ruled, consistent with California law, that the deadline is firm and missing the deadline bars the lawsuit. The case is Rosenberg-Wohl v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company.1
Continue Reading Not Following California’s Intricate Suit Limitations Rules Dooms Yet Another Unsophisticated Insured

Last month, United Policyholders was kind enough to invite me to participate in one of the plethora of webinars/seminars/workshops it hosts, one of many free resources it offers for insurance consumers. The main topic of the presentation was homeowners’ personal property claims. This topic has a special place in my heart since my first exposure to the insurance industry was doing contents inventories with my father growing up. The webinar was a great opportunity to hear lingering questions from policyholders impacted by California wildfires in previous years.
Continue Reading Tips for Tackling Your Personal Property Claim

A California policyholder’s compliance with all insurance policy conditions is required for claim payment. Understanding the conditions will prevent an unnecessary claim denial and will often speed up claim payment. With yet another historic and tragic fire season occurring this year, let’s review the common policy conditions that are typically encountered during the claim adjustment and the best way to manage and ensure the policyholder’s compliance.
Continue Reading Ensuring the California Policyholder Complies with Policy Conditions During the Claim Adjustment

Last week, I blogged about how California’s Department of Insurance issued a one-year moratorium to insurance companies to stop their practice of non-renewing and cancelling homeowner’s insurance coverage for policyholders living near major wildfires.1 But what if your carrier sent you a cancellation just prior to the moratorium – does the moratorium apply retroactively to restore your coverage?
Continue Reading Is California’s Moratorium on Insurance Policy Non-Renewals or Cancellations Retroactive?

Many of us appreciate misdirection, deception, and technical play on words in brainteasers and riddles. The same is not usually the case when an insurer is explaining your legal rights following a devastating loss. While this blog showcases California claims, laws, and regulations, the principle for policyholders and policyholder advocates applies across the country – it pays to know your insurance claim rights.
Continue Reading Don’t Believe Everything You Read on the Internet – or Even in Your Claim Letter

If you lose your home or business, or you simply cannot use the premises until repairs are done, your property insurance policy likely pays a benefit to cover the cost of temporary placement. These “Loss of Use” benefits typically come in two forms, Fair Rental Value and Loss of Use. The former generally pays the fair market rental value based on similar comparisons in your area, while the latter pays only the actual amounts expended to maintain a homeowner’s or renter’s standard of living. Loss of Use benefits are usually paid subject to time and monetary limits – in other words, the carrier pays on a rolling basis until it hits the maximum dollar amount (if there is one) or the maximum time limit, whichever is first.
Continue Reading Is Your Insurance Company Threatening to Prematurely Terminate Loss of Use Benefits?