The quick answer to this post is to “hire a really good and experienced property insurance bad faith attorney and file a proper Civll Remedy Notice.” It is clearly not business as we used to do it in the first-party good faith claims practice field. What I taught just several years ago as the proper way to complete civil remedy notices (CRNs), which is a requirement for a bad Faith lawsuit, is no longer the best method to do so. Policyholders should not attempt to do this themselves. It has become extraordinarily complex. The Florida legislature has made it that way with newly enacted laws.
Continue Reading What Does a Property Insurance Policyholder Have To Do To File a Bad Faith Lawsuit In Florida?

Public adjusters cannot practice law. Every state in the union has this restriction. Every public adjuster should read Merlin Law Group attorney Larry Bache’s 2014 post, The Big Don’t for Public Adjusters: Practicing Law Without a License. He noted:

[I]t is clear that a Texas licensed public adjuster is authorized to negotiate claims on behalf of policyholders on a contingent basis. However, a public adjuster should not argue existing case law or statutes and make clear to the policyholder that an attorney may be needed if a dispute over coverage manifests itself.

The most common example that I see is a public adjuster citing case law in letters to the carrier. Even worse, I have seen public adjusters disagreeing with an attorney’s application of a case in writing. This will get a public adjuster in trouble.
Continue Reading Public Adjusters Who Write Civil Remedy Notices Can Lose Their Licenses

Pursuant to section 624.155(3)(a) of the Florida Statutes, an insured has a right to file a bad-faith cause of action if his or her carrier violates enumerated statutory provisions.1 Before filing such an action, however, the insured must meet three requirements:

1 There must be a determination of the insurer’s liability for coverage.

2 There must be a determination of the extent of the insured’s damages.

3 The insured must provide notice to the carrier by filing a Civil Remedy Notice (“CRN”) with Florida’s Department of Financial Services.2

Before the determination of liability and coverage, can an insured file a CRN?
Continue Reading Can You File a Civil Remedy Notice Before Coverage and Liability Are Established?

The purpose of a Civil Remedy Notice (“Notice”) is to provide an insurance company with a final opportunity to comply with its good-faith claim handling obligations and fix previous wrongdoings.1 Once a property owner files a Notice, the insurance company has a sixty-day window to fix the alleged wrongdoings to avoid “bad-faith” litigation.2 However, when an insurance company commits multiple wrongdoings, it may be necessary for an insured to file multiple Notices.
Continue Reading What Is the Effect of Filing Multiple Civil Remedy Notices in a Single Claim?

From left to right, JL Evans, Donice Krueger, Chip Merlin, Ron Delo, James and Rene Howard

Hurricane Michael insurance claims continue to take up a lot of time with Merlin Law Group attorneys. The photograph above is from dinner last night in Panama City, Florida, where the issues and problems of getting insurance claims resolved fully were the hot topic of discussion. Hurricane Michael has a lot of slow and low paying claims where insurers are wrongfully reporting to the Office of Insurance Regulation that the claim is administratively “closed” when it is anything other than being over from the policyholder’s view.
Continue Reading Hurricane Michael Claims Deserve Continued Attention By Florida Insurance Regulators

Under some policies, appraisal is a post-loss condition. I have written about appraisal in prior posts. This post addresses the issue of whether appraisal moots a Civil Remedy Notice (“CRN”) or tolls the CRN’s sixty day cure period, allowing an insurer to circumvent bad faith litigation in most instances.

Continue Reading Insurance Policy Conditions (a/k/a/ Land Mines): Part 14 – Appraisal and Bad Faith Litigation

On January 6, 2012, a trial judge in Hernando County, Florida, held that a specific monetary “cure amount” and specific policy language are not required in a Civil Remedy Notice. The filing of a Civil Remedy Notice is a condition precedent to bringing a statutory bad faith action under Florida Statute 624.155.

Continue Reading Court Holds Civil Remedy Notice Valid Without a Remedying Amount