Ed Eshoo obtained a favorable ruling this week with a finding that held a collapse caused by hidden decay was covered.1 The opinion has a full analysis of the coverage because the insurer raised the normal set of objections to each element pertaining to collapse coverage—it did not happen during the policy period, the dropping floor does not constitute a collapse, the collapse was not total, and the collapse was not hidden.
Continue Reading Collapse By Hidden Decay Covered

One year ago, I got a telephone call from an engineer, Eduard Badiu. It was a little after 6 a.m., and his call woke me up. He called to tell me that people would need my help because a terrible tragedy happened with a condominium collapsing. His voice was afraid. He told me he was on a special task force and was going to the loss.
Continue Reading Heroes Arise From the Champlain Towers Condominium Collapse

One of the lessons from the treble damage case noted in yesterday’s blog, Treble Damages for Insurance Company Misconduct in North Carolina and Collapse Coverage Confirmed, is that denial letters from insurance companies should be accurate. They should not be quoting irrelevant policy language. Denial letters should only cite the policy language the insurer is relying upon to deny a claim. By law in most states, the letter should accurately state facts and the applicable policy language for denial.
Continue Reading Overbroad Denial Letters Are Deceptive and Not in Good Faith

Treble damages may be available when insurance companies act deceptively handling claims under North Carolina North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75.1-1. A recent decision involved an obvious “collapse loss” where the insurer searched for a theory that would find no coverage. Collapse losses to buildings are no joke. Serious damage to property and people are at stake. The facts of this collapse show how close having fun can be to a horrific event.
Continue Reading Treble Damages for Insurance Company Misconduct in North Carolina and Collapse Coverage Confirmed

Defining what constitutes a “collapse” under modern policy provisions is a highly litigated issue in Florida. Insurers have repeatedly amended/revised the definition of collapse to more precisely constrict coverage, leading to constantly evolving judicial interpretations of those provisions. Many exceptional blogs have been written seeking to clarify this confounding coverage, including Court Defines “Collapse” by Merlin Law Group attorney Shane Smith, and What Constitutes an “Abrupt Collapse”? by Merlin Law Group attorney Edward Eshoo.
Continue Reading Partial Collapse – Collapse Coverage Does Not Require “Total Destruction”

As a younger member of the Merlin Law Group team, my generation is more likely to appreciate the lyrical ingenuity of the Eminem song, ’Till I Collapse. Homeowners of all generations, however, should appreciate how collapse coverage is defined in Florida.
Continue Reading Evolving Collapse Coverage in Florida is Not Defined by the Prominent Hip-Hop/Rap Artist Eminem

Feenix Parkside LLC owed a commercial building that incurred a partial collapse to their ceiling. When Feenix sought coverage for the collapse, the insurer—Berkley North Pacific—denied coverage for the loss. When Feenix reported the loss, they stated the collapse was due to decay, which was a gradual decline in strength and soundness.
Continue Reading Collapse Loss Ambiguity Determined With Dictionary Help

In March of 2017, I wrote a blog post about the crumbling foundations in Connecticut due to a concrete company, J.J. Mottes & Company, using concrete that contained pyrrhotite, that cause the concrete to lose integrity and collapse. Many insurance companies have been denying these claims for various reasons. One insured, Lawrence and Karen Cockill, sought to have their claim against Nationwide covered by arguing that the structural integrity of the concrete was diminished due to a “chemical reaction.”1
Continue Reading Trial Court Sides with Insurers Over Cracked Concrete Foundation

Most property insurance policies provide additional coverage for direct physical loss of or damage to covered property caused by or resulting from an “abrupt collapse.”1 In Hoban v. Nova Casualty Company,2 a California federal district court recently addressed the meaning of the phrase “abrupt collapse,” which the commercial insurance policy at issue defined as “an abrupt falling down or caving in of a building or any part of a building with the result that the building or part of the building cannot be occupied for its intended purpose.”3
Continue Reading What Constitutes an “Abrupt Collapse”?