As previously noted in the first four posts of the Hurricane Law series discussing Late Notice of Claims, in Florida, if a policyholder does not timely report an insurance claim to the insurance carrier, prejudice to the insurer will be presumed. This presumption may be rebutted by a showing that the insurer was not prejudiced by the late notice. Bankers Ins. Co. v. Macias, 475 So.2d 1216 (Fla. 1985). If an insurance carrier claims a policyholder breached a cooperation clause however, the insurance carrier “must show a material failure to cooperate which substantially prejudiced the insurer.”


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(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is part of a series he is writing on post-loss duties).

“In the event of loss or damage, we will adjust the loss with you.” This is a common phrase in property insurance policies, but an important phrase nonetheless. The key word in this sentence is the word with. The insurer will adjust the loss with an insured, not the insurer will adjust the loss for the insured. While the word with may not seem too important at first glance, this phrase can play a very important role in determining whether an insurer or insured may have breached the policy.


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(Note: This Guest Blog is by Corey Harris, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Tampa, Florida, office. This is part of a series he is writing on post-loss duties).

Think about this for a moment. A homeowner accidentally leaves something in the oven before heading off to the mall for an afternoon of shopping. Unfortunately for our hypothetical insured, that once tasty treat has caused a substantial fire which destroyed part of the house. Under almost all homeowner’s insurance policies, these damages would be covered despite the fact that the fire was caused by the insured’s negligence.


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Dedicated insurance professionals, such as the lawyers in our firm, can spend their entire careers learning this area of the law. However, sometimes people become consumed in the details and neglect essential principles. It is a good idea, from time to time, to check that we have touched all the bases. Accordingly, here is a quick review of five important principles….
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It is curious how some insurance company claims managers allow their insurance defense counsel to treat their customers with an arrogant, demeaning tone, along with long requests for largely irrelevant lists of information following a loss. Any objection to the treatment is usually met with a threat the claim will be turned down for a failure to cooperate. The “threat” letter is usually in a similar tone requiring the policyholder to obey…or else. For insurance adjusters that do not act this way or allow their insurance defense counsel to do so, this treatment may shock you. Yet, many policyholder representatives see this as a growing trend in claims treatment following a loss.


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