In Florida, discovery in breach of contract actions usually centers around the mystical “claim file” which insurers guard more closely than their first born child. As most who read this blog already know, the “claim file” has been held to be generally protected by Florida courts, and usually undiscoverable in a breach of contract action.
One of the most daunting tasks in submitting an insurance claim is the production of documents….…
Insurance coverage disputes are often decided by laws and regulations made outside the insurance contract. Insurance companies have known this for years. They employ an army of lawyers and seemingly have an unending treasury to lobby for laws and regulations that favor insurance company interests.
Bill Berk called me yesterday regarding the upcoming Windstorm Conference next week. During our discussion, he mentioned that his partner, Evelyn Mercahant, won a trial for QBE against a condominium association represented by a very good trial attorney, Daniel Rosenbaum. The Association was seeking millions, but the jury awarded zero.
Insuring to value is an important aspect of insurance. Most policyholders, especially condominiums, face significant penalties for not purchasing full replacement value insurance coverage. If a policy has a coinsurance penalty, any loss benefit will be reduced if property is not insured to full value. The reduction can be significant.
I saw a number of property managers of former Community Association clients yesterday at the Community Associations Institute National Conference in New Orleans. We recalled the trials and tribulations of catastrophes long past. We consult with a number of them regarding their insurance programs and will sometimes have a conference with their insurance brokers and agents trying to anticipate coverage which would be needed in the event of another disaster.
Most insurance opponents find it amusing when I explain how many places I have been in a week. If they only knew how many matters I have "touched" in a day they would fully appreciate how hard I work to protect policyholders. This morning at breakfast, a Zurich attorney asked about my daily schedule and I responded as I normally do, that I am "busy." The truth is that I was up at 5:45 am, in Tampa, flew to Destin, Florida, and picked up a client which lead to strategy on her case, then on to New Orleans where I met with new potential clients, met with the Zurich counsel, went to a Condominium Conference, worked on the paperwork of a seven figure hotel settlement, etc.,—- I am in the "muck" of insurance disagreements and want to help, which is why you should listen to the following suggestions.
The monthly Florida Underwriter is an excellent publication that I read to stay informed about many current issues facing the Florida insurance market. It is also very good at noting significant legal and political issues which impact insurance. Even the advertisements sometime reflect trends of insurance coverage that are significant to our clients.
The December issue of Florida Community Association Journal ran my article, "Directors and Officers Liability Coverage: What Every Board of Directors Member Needs to Know." While I am certain that many think the only insurance law we practice is property insurance, our firm handles a variety of first and third party insurance coverage disputes and bad faith cases.
The important issue for Condominium Boards is that most Director and Officer liability policies exclude coverage for errors in obtaining proper insurance coverage. I think this is the largest potential error a board may face. The most prevalent issue is underinsurance.