Jon Bukowski was trying to explain to me how he, Larry Bache, and Mike Duffy won a bad faith jury trial verdict against GuideOne Mutual Insurance Company.1 He told me that it was because of Mike Duffy’s trial skills and “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the findings of bad faith in an opinion filed yesterday.
Continue Reading “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe”—Bad Faith Trial Victory Upheld

Direct fire and heat damage has been easy to spot from the Marshall fires. There are many more smoke damaged structures that insurance companies know are damaged and dangerous to occupants. Some owners return to work and live in those structures, and many are questioning if it is safe to do so. A recent story, No return: The Unseen Toll of the Marshall Fire’s ‘Standing Home’ Survivors, sets the stage and explains part of the current situation:
Continue Reading The Science of Smoke Damaged Structures From the Marshall Fire

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 10–3–1115 prohibits an insurance company from unreasonably delaying or denying payment of a claim for benefits owed to a first-party claimant. C.R.S. § 10–3–1115(1)(a). Section 10–3–1116 further provides that “[a] first-party claimant as defined in section 10–3–1115 whose claim for payment of benefits has been unreasonably delayed or denied may bring an action in a district court to recover reasonable attorney fees and court costs and two times the covered benefit.”1 An insurer’s delay is unreasonable “if the insurer delayed or denied authorizing payment of a covered benefit without a reasonable basis for that action.”2
Continue Reading What is the Bad Faith Standard Under the Colorado Insurance Code?

The Property Loss Appraisal Network (P.L.A.N.) is holding its appraisal and umpire and certification course in Denver. It was a pleasure for me to speak at this event.
Continue Reading Should Umpires Be Allowed to Have Ex Parte Communications With Appraisers? — The Colorado 2015 Revision to DORA Bulletin No. B-5.26

The desire to compensate shareholders creates a direct conflict of interest between insurance carriers and their policyholders. As a result, most jurisdictions, including Colorado, have enacted laws to protect their consumers and hold insurance carriers accountable to their promise to timely pay and to fully indemnify policyholders. States have also enacted laws allowing licensed adjusters to work directly for consumers to assist in ensuring recovery of all benefits that may be owed under a first-party property insurance policy. These adjusters are called “public adjusters.” These public adjusters are licensed and regulated by the State of Colorado. In Colorado, the leading public adjusting organization is the Rocky Mountain Association of Public Insurance Adjusters.
Continue Reading Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway Continues Efforts to Help and Assist Policyholders Impacted by the Marshall Fire

Colorado, like most states, has imposed regulatory guidelines that govern insurance company claims handling procedures. Many of those regulations and statutes provide potential penalties that may be imposed when the adjustment process implemented by an insurer fails to comply with the standards enumerated. Title 3 of the Code of Colorado Regulations § 702-5-1-14 is a good example of the methods aimed at deterring such conduct. Due to the recent wildfires in Colorado leading to delayed payments and improper claims handling by numerous insurers, these regulations and the recourse they offer insureds are worth emphasizing.
Continue Reading Failure to Make Timely Decisions/Payments in Colorado will Lead to Penalties for Insurers Pursuant to Title 3 Colo. Code Regs. § 702-5-1-14

Nearly two months after the Marshall Wildfire, news stories and articles continue to express the frustrations and difficulties Marshall Wildfire policyholders are experiencing with partial losses from smoke, ash, and soot where insurers will not fully agree to help investigate and evaluate the extent of damage. Colorado Division of Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway has held several town hall meetings where Marshall Wildfire policyholders continue to echo frustrations of smoke, ash, and soot damage to their homes and personal property.
Continue Reading Marshall Wildfire Policyholders Continue to Experience Difficulty with Insurance Companies to Evaluate Full Extent of Damage from Smoke, Ash, and Soot