New laws enacted last month provide further support for California wildfire claimants by requiring carriers provide additional coverages. Only a few years ago, California enacted laws requiring insurers to provide coverage for Additional Living Expenses (ALE) incurred due to a covered loss relating to a state of emergency – almost every massive wildfire – for a period of no less than 24 months. (California Insurance Code Section 2060(b)(1).)
Continue Reading New California Law Require Insurers to Pay Up to 36 Months of Additional Living Expenses and Advance at Least Four Months of Payments Following Wildfires

As wildfires continue to devastate California yet again, countless homes and businesses have been destroyed. The destruction of buildings and other property, however, does not even begin to reflect the actual extent of wildfire damages. Thousands more homes and business have been affected by smoke damage. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will refuse to recognize smoke damage alone if a property was not actually touched by a fire. If you can demonstrate that smoke has indeed affected a building and personal property, then you can also demonstrate damages and the insurer should be held accountable to pay to return the smoke affected property to its pre-loss condition.
Continue Reading The Importance of Demonstrating that Damages Exist in Smoke Damage Insurance Claims

The California Supreme Court emphasized that the notice-prejudice rule in first-party insurance contract is a fundamental public policy that can override a choice-of law provision in certain circumstances.
Continue Reading Is the California Notice-Prejudice Rule a Fundamental Public Policy For Purposes of Choice of Law Analysis?

In California, the combination of both a covered loss and an uncovered loss can still be covered under the Efficient Proximate Cause Doctrine provided that the covered loss is the efficient proximate cause of the loss. California Courts have interpreted California Insurance Code sections 530 and 532 to codify the efficient proximate cause doctrine.
Continue Reading A Primer on the Efficient Proximate Cause Doctrine in California

The standard commercial lease for an entire building will require the tenant to either buy building insurance or reimburse the landlord’s premium payments if the landlord buys the insurance. If the tenant opts to purchase the building insurance, this often results in a lower overall premium to the tenant since the building coverage is underwritten with the tenant’s other insurance needs, such as business interruption insurance, workers compensation, liability insurance, and business personal property coverage. This begs a legal question—can a tenant can have an insurable interest in property it leases, i.e., the landlord’s building?
Continue Reading Does a Tenant Have an Insurable Interest in a Leased Building? Yes

The California Appellate Court recently ruled in a published opinion that an insurer cannot escape liability for a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim (bad faith), because its coverage position was based an outside consultant’s findings. In the case, Fadeeff v. State Farm General Insurance Company,1 the court considered State Farm’s bold contention that an insurer should automatically be considered to have acted in good faith if its claim decision is based on an independent expert’s conclusions.
Continue Reading Can an Insurer Avoid Bad Faith Liability by Claiming it Relied on the Opinion of an Outside Consultant?

Due to the extensive loss and damage that wildfires have caused to California insureds in the last several years, the legislature has continued to pass changes to the law that benefit policyholders. We are only a little more than a quarter through 2020 and the legislature continues to focus on expanding policyholders’ rights.
Continue Reading California Legislature Introduces Even More Policyholder Friendly Legislation and Regulations

On March 31, 2020, six Northern California Bay Area counties significantly limited construction activity. These orders will result in thousands of construction projects shutting down until at least May 3, 2020. What impact does this have on existing property insurance claims? The answer: a lot, and they will probably result in significant legal disputes.
Continue Reading California Bay Area Shuts Down Construction – How Does This Affect an Ongoing Business Claim?