The most frequent questions asked by clients when they initially consult with my offices is, "Does my policy cover this loss? or Does my policy provide for__?" The answer almost exclusively is, "let’s look at your policy." It’s usually at this point that an insured may tell me that the insured has never read the policy, or attempted to read the policy after its initial receipt but gave up because it was so confusing. Although I have been reading and deciphering policies for quite a while, I cannot disagree with any insured when they tell me the language of the policy is muddled or nonsensical. However, despite being a poor read, looking at the policy is absolutely necessary to see if a loss is covered.
Professor Daniel Schwarcz has called for regulatory reform of the homeowners insurance market as noted in yesterday’s post, "Insurance Regulators and Lawmakers, Judges and Insurance Consumer Advocates Should Study Professor Daniel Schwarcz’s Work." Unlike many who point out problems with no suggested solutions, Professor Schwarcz offered simple solutions that would dramatically improve consumer protections in personal lines property and casualty insurance.
On April 4, Doctors Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray, of Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorlogy Project, released their Extended Range Forecast of Atlantic Seasonal Hurricane Activity and Landfall Strike Probability for 2012. In summary, they predict:
Among the new proposed legislation making its way through the Colorado legislature this year is Colorado Senate Bill No. 38, “Concerning Measures To Protect Consumers Who Engage A Roofing Contractor To Perform Roofing Services On Residential Property.” The bill is sponsored by Democratic Senator Lois Tochtrop and Republican House Representative Glenn Vaad.
The issue of whether the 2005 Florida Statute sections 627.7065, 627 .7072, and 627.7073 (2005), which affected sinkhole database information, testing standards, and reporting requirements, created a presumption that shifted the burden of proof to the homeowner in litigation to disprove an insurer’s expert’s opinion that damage was not caused by a sinkhole has been in question for several years. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court definitively held the statutes do not create a presumption in litigation.
Continue Reading Florida Supreme Court Holds that the Presumption Favoring Insurers Created in Florida Statute 627.7073(1)(c) (2005) Does Not Apply in Litigation
It was 1992, the average price for a new home was approximately $122,500.00, Nirvana was topping the charts, and Jay Leno was taking over for Johnny Carson. The pop culture buzz surrounded the separation of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Hurricane Andrew would hit the coast of Florida in August and cause a recording breaking amount of damage and destruction for our state. But there was another property damage issue in Florida that was not making national news.
Senate Bill 408 proposes new Florida insurance laws that harm all policyholders. Florida businesses and homeowners will receive fewer benefits, and insurers will be encouraged to delay, deny and defend claims if this bill becomes law. It takes away a lot of financial peace of mind that insurance currently provides.
Oftentimes after a windstorm, flood, or plumbing leak, mold develops in a home. There are several standard insurance policies issued in Texas, and they all have some language that deals with mold. For example, a standard Texas Dwelling Policy—Form 3 specifically excludes mold damage, but covers an “ensuing loss” caused by water damage. These clauses seemingly contradict one another: how can there be no coverage for mold damage if it is an “ensuing loss” caused by water damage? In 2004, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas discussed this issue in Malley v. Allstate Texas Lloyds.
Many residential insurance policies in Florida have additional coverage for “Ordinance or Law” or code upgrade coverage. I wanted to write about this additional coverage in the context of the Hurricane Law series because it is important to understand how this additional coverage kicks in during a typical residential hurricane claim. In South Florida, many property insurance claim issues remain from the 2005 and 2005 hurricanes. Many of the open disputes concern hurricane damage to residential roofs and whether they can be repaired or necessitate replacement. Of course there are many other issues still being litigated from the hurricanes of 2004-2005 in Florida, but this post will focus on the Ordinance or Law additional coverage in the context of a residential roof.