Merlin 2019 Transpac Team at Waikiki Yacht Club

Hawaii is paradise. The Aloha State deserves its reputation as exotic, fun loving, and a place to reflect about life—as you can tell from the picture above with my friend following the finish of the 2019 Transpac Race. So, it is fitting that insurers who wrongfully breach the peace of mind which insurance is supposed to protect are subject to emotional distress damages in Hawaii.
Continue Reading

Hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes are the most common natural disasters to impact the State of Hawaii. The 2018 Hawaii hurricane season was one of the most destructive in recent memory, with six hurricanes hitting the islands. 2018 also brought the lower Puna volcano eruption.
Continue Reading

Insurance is a heavily regulated industry and everyone who reads our daily blog knows that insurance rules and regulations vary by state and fall under each individual state’s jurisdiction. Hawai’i is no different and in a state whose insurance laws are still evolving, it is interesting to see that when it comes to appraisal in the property insurance sector, Hawai’i does not have its own set of rules on appraisal. Although appraisal is definitely not an arbitration process, in Hawai’i, the rules of arbitration apply.


Continue Reading

Late last June, a stream of lava flow from the Kilauea volcano began to flow on Hawaii’s Big Island. By late October, the lava was threatening to destroy homes. Now residents of the Big Island are fighting back and asking for the State of Hawaii’s help because their homeowners insurance coverage has been canceled. The reason listed: the Puna Lava flow.

The lava flow near Pahoa on Hawaii, seen on November 2, 2014, as it approaches the town

The lava flow near Pahoa on Hawaii, seen on November 2, 2014 as it approaches the town.


Continue Reading

The last few weeks the world has turned its attention to the Puna lava flow on the big island of Hawai’i. Two weeks ago I visited this subject as the ‘a’a (creeping) lava neared the town of Pahoa and the questions of whether the damages would be covered under a fire claim or an earth movement policy began to emerge. This week, the lava has reached Pahoa and residents are ordered to evacuate. As of October 27, 2014, the lava has reached within 100 feet of the first home of Pahoa in its path towards the ocean. The photos of the devastation are dramatic and since there has been a moratorium on raising policy limits or even purchasing earth movement policies for at least a month, the citizens of Pahoa will find that their insurance policies have severe limitations on recovery. Although many homes will burn due to the excessive heat that ensues before lava actually reaches it, the alarming new claim hitting the news is that for those who have already evacuated, claims of looting are emerging. These theft claims would appear to be, at first blush, a claim that is separate and apart from that of fire or land movement of the lava itself.


Continue Reading

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