Ghost, goblins, and haunted houses are not the only scary thing homeowners should be ready for this Halloween season. Fires, theft, and vandalism are scary insurance claims that commonly haunt homeowners during this time. Fortunately, most homeowners’ policies are Halloween friendly. Here are tips to prepare for potential spooky insurance claims.
Continue Reading Don’t Get Spooked By Scary Insurance Claims This Halloween! Protect Yourself From Halloween Horrors!

Insurers often issue property insurance policies intended cover multiple perils (e.g. water damage and fire). While insurers often include a number of exclusions in their policies, in states with statutory standard form fire policies (such as California), insurers cannot apply exclusions that substantially vary from the terms and conditions in the standard form fire policy regarding the peril of fire.


Continue Reading Exclusions in States That Have a Statutory Standard Form Fire Insurance Policy

Going way back to the roots of insurance, fire was the peril that insurance was designed to protect. Fire damage and smoke are incredibly damaging and cause many injuries and fatalities. While our suppression efforts have a come a long way, there is still a long way for us to go with fire insurance claims being properly paid across the board.

Continue Reading Fire Claim Was Not Mischief but Other Courts Disagree

Motions in limine are commonly used to seek a pre-trial ruling regarding excluding inadmissible or prejudicial evidence. At the federal level, Federal Rules of Evidence (“FRE”) 103(d) and 104(c),1 402,2 403,3 and 611(a)4 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 16(c)5 provide the underlying bases for in limine motions, though the power to rule on such motions inheres in the district court’s authority to manage the course of trials.6 Whether to grant or to deny a motion in limine falls within the broad discretion of the district court.7

The admissibility of evidence of an insured’s prior fires and prior insurance claims was the subject of a motion in limine in Chicago Import, Inc. v. American States Insurance Company,8 a case arising out of a 2007 warehouse fire alleged to have been an act of arson.


Continue Reading Using a Motion in Limine to Exclude Evidence of Prior Fires or Prior Insurance Claims

There is no question – we seldom think about property losses occurring from lava flow. However, in rare instances, such losses do happen. Lava is the Earth’s way of creating new land, and if it wasn’t for lava flows we wouldn’t have the beautiful islands that make up Hawaii. Hollywood has portrayed images of volcanic eruptions where fiery molten rock flows downhill faster than automobiles can get out of the way, consuming everything in its path. In real life, there are different types of lava flows and ‘a’a is the Hawaiian name for a very, very slow lava flow. In fact, ‘a’a is lava that creeps out of a volcano or earth fissure.


Continue Reading Lava Flows – Earth Movement or Fire Claim?

As promised yesterday in Wildfire and Smoke Claims – A Case Burning With Issues That Public Adjusters Should Study, today’s post will be the first study from the recent decision in Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds.1 The initial question is how long has the expert has been doing what he is asked to do. The fire in Falcon involved a September 2011 wildfire in Texas.


Continue Reading Vetting Fire and Smoke Experts – Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds Case Study

Wildfire cases are unique and have many evidentiary issues. Public adjusters have been making claims for damage by fire, heat, and especially smoke. State Farm and its able trial counsel successfully appear to be fighting back in Falcon v State Farm Lloyds.1


Continue Reading Wildfire and Smoke Claims – A Case Burning With Issues That Public Adjusters Should Study

Note: This guest blog is by Chris Aldrich, a firefighter for 23 years, (19.5 in Toms River with 2 of the 19 years as Fire Chief, 12 years as a command officer, 3.5 years in Whitesville FD, Jackson Township serving currently as Fire Commissioner), as well a Deputy Fire Coordinator, with the Ocean County Fire Coordinators for 3 years, and 14 years as a Deputy Coordinator in the Toms River Office of Emergency Management. Chris is a public adjuster with Andrew K. Knox and Company.


Less than one year ago, the New Jersey Shore got dealt a crippling blow that would have destroyed many people’s thoughts and ambitions. On September 12, 2013, the Seaside Heights/ Seaside Park communities, got dealt a “double whammy,” with a four block long, 10+ alarm fire, destroying many of the businesses who just got back in operation after Hurricane Sandy.


Continue Reading Bigger Than The Blaze

Followers of our blog are well aware that the New Jersey coast suffered considerable damage from Hurricane Sandy. In the last 11 months, property owners have been struggling to put the pieces back together and many in Seaside Heights were just hit once more. A massive fire burnt much of the Seaside Heights boardwalk on September 12, 2013.

Continue Reading Massive Fire Adds Insult to Injury in Seaside Heights