Many moons ago (on October 26, 2012, to be precise), I blogged about compliance with examination conditions. That blog noted conflicting views as to what is required of a policyholder under the policy’s condition for examination under oath (in the property insurance context) or compulsory medical examination (in the health, disability, or long-term care insurance contexts).

Continue Reading Compliance With Examinations Under Oath – Supreme Court of Florida Authority Hot Off The Press

Last week, I discussed the concept of insurable interest in Florida and the effect of a foreclosure judgment on a party’s insurable interest in property. Let’s continue the discussion of insurable interest this week. Does a property management company have an insurable interest in commercial property which it manages but does not own?

Continue Reading Insurable Interest of a Property Management Company in Commercial Managed Property

Oftentimes policyholders that have suffered a loss turn to representatives that will be able to help them in emergency situations. These companies may take assignments of the insurance claim proceeds as payment for their services. Examples are water dry-out companies, emergency services contractors, and fire cleanup companies. Insurance carriers have been challenging these types of assignments in recent years. A recent appeal by a water dry-out company demonstrates this.1

Continue Reading Insurance Carriers’ Challenges To Assignments Of Benefits

New York’s highest appellate court holds an expansive view of property insurance coverage for vandalism losses. Back in January, 2013, I wrote a post: So There Is An Excavation Company As Your Next Door Neighbor; Could It Trigger Vandalism Coverage To Your Property, about a question the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit certified to the New York State Court of Appeals related to vandalism coverage in a property insurance policy. Recently, the New York Court of Appeals answered that question and held vandalism may result from acts not directed specifically at the covered property.1

Continue Reading New York’s Highest Court Supports an Expansive View of Vandalism Coverage Under Property Insurance Policy

The last several months I’ve spent the majority of my time on the New Jersey Shore. Among the reconstruction, empty lots, and damaged homes I also see a growing number of “for sale” signs lining the sidewalks. In fact, this was a topic of conversation Tuesday night over dinner with a new client.

Continue Reading Recovering Replacement Cost After Selling Unrepaired Property

In property insurance claims, insurers will often pay for repairs at actual cash value (withholding depreciation) and inform the policyholder that once the repairs are actually made or contracted for they will pay the holdback amount and receive the replacement cost value (“RCV”). In Florida, residential policyholders insured under replacement cost value policies are entitled to payment at RCV without the holdback and without the further restrictions. There is a recent Florida case on this point.1

Continue Reading Florida Homeowners Are Entitled to Replacement Cost Without First Entering Into a Contract or Incurring the Costs

A recent opinion was issued from a Florida appellate court involving a property insurance claim that stemmed from multiple losses. The Second District Appeals Court of Florida noted in the opinion that the multiple-peril loss issue has not often arisen in Florida case law history regarding first-party property insurance claims. The case is American Home Assurance Company v. Sebo.1 The facts of the case are as follows:

Continue Reading Florida Law On Multiple-Peril Losses

The words on the page of the insurance policy matter and are very important to both parties to the agreement. Since the insurance company drafts the policy, if there is any ambiguity in the terms it writes and selects, ambiguity and interpretation will be resolved in the policyholder’s favor and in favor of coverage. However, some Florida courts have allowed insurance carriers to present extrinsic evidence, such as internal operating guidelines, to clarify or explain ambiguous policy language.

Continue Reading Florida Supreme Court Says Ambiguities in Policy Language Are To Be Construed in Favor of the Policyholder and Coverage Without Considering Extrinsic Evidence

On June 27, 2013 the Florida Supreme issued an important decision addressing the issue, “whether, under Florida Statute § 627.736, an insurer can require an insured to attend an examination under oath as a condition precedent to recovery of personal injury protection “PIP” benefits? In Nunez v. Geico General Insurance Company,1 the Florida Supreme Court ruled in the negative.

Continue Reading Liberty Mutual wrongly denying your sinkhole loss claim: A glimpse into the future reveals help may be on its way

(Note: This guest blog is by Ashley Smith, a third-year law student clerking in our Tampa, Florida, office)

A new opinion takes a step in the right direction for Florida policyholders seeking to hold insurance carriers accountable for their conduct in the adjustment of insurance claims. The Second District Court of Appeal’s opinion in Hunt v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company,1 unambiguously states that policyholders can bring bad faith causes of action against their insurance carriers after a favorable appraisal award.

Continue Reading A Step in the Right Direction: Appraisal Awards Satisfy Condition Precedent to Bad Faith Actions