The moral of this story is don’t be caught off guard by insurance policy sublimits. It isn’t every day that a policy sublimit issue involves hundreds of millions of dollars. However, that recently was the case involving a Superstorm Sandy claim in New Jersey.1 Public Service Enterprise Group filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against numerous insurance carriers seeking several hundred million dollars in coverage for Super Storm Sandy damage. One of the issues involved whether a flood sublimit applies.


Continue Reading Don’t Be Caught Off Guard By Insurance Policy Sublimits

On March 23, 2015, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Thomas R. Vena handed down an opinion1 siding with the plaintiff, PSEG, ruling that storm surge caused by Superstorm Sandy should not trigger flood sublimits in PSEG’s insurance policies, as the term “storm surge” was included in the definition of a “named windstorm” in the policies.


Continue Reading Court Rules Flood Sublimits Do Not Apply to Loss Caused by Storm Surge

All estimates of damage, including draft estimates of damage made by adjusters, have been ordered to be produced in a Superstorm Sandy flood damage case.1 Typically, insurance company flood attorneys have made the same arguments they made regarding drafts of engineering reports—“We and our clients do not have them, judge."


Continue Reading Superstorm Sandy Draft Estimates of Damage Ordered Produced–Have They Been Altered as Well?

A common scenario after Sandy was that folks ended up with all sorts of debris scattered across their properties that had been deposited by the powerful storm. Things like boats, docks, parts of structures and plants and sand were left everywhere and were in need of removal at sometimes substantial costs. So it would stand to reason then that property owners’ flood policies would cover the removal of non-owned debris from their properties right? Well, not according to a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit opinion on this topic.1


Continue Reading So I Have A Boat In My Front Yard Following Super Storm Sandy; Will My Flood Insurer Cover The Removal Of It And Other Non-Owned Debris? – Part 3

Last week I discussed FEMA’s has agreement to reopen and review 144,000 flood claims filed by homeowners whose properties were damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Also, on March 13th the Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, Jerome B. Simandle, issued two orders—recommended by the court’s Hurricane Sandy Litigation Committee and approved by the Board of Judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jerseytemporarily staying all Hurricane Sandy-related cases filed directly against FEMA, and insurance companies that participated in FEMA’s WYO program, for 60 days.


Continue Reading Flood Cases Temporarily Stayed for 60 Days

Because there have been recent allegations that some insurers in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) may have denied or rejected policyholders’ Superstorm Sandy flood damage claims based on falsified engineering reports, earlier this week FEMA agreed to re-open and review every flood insurance claim filed by Superstorm Sandy victims. It is important to note that this amounts to approximately 144,000 claims, and not just the estimated 2,200 FEMA Superstorm Sandy flood claims currently in litigation.


Continue Reading FEMA to Re-Open and Review 144,000 Sandy Flood Claims

Merlin Law Group filed a class action lawsuit in Federal Court today alleging that sales tax was not being paid to many Superstorm Sandy policyholders with flood insurance claims insured by Selective Insurance. Some must be wondering that if policyholders cannot trust insurance company engineering reports, why should they trust that the estimates of damage made by the insurance companies own estimators?


Continue Reading Sales Tax Missing From Sandy Claims Estimates Leads to Class Action Lawsuit

Last year when I wrote about Five Towns Nissan v. Universal Underwriters Insurance Company, I mentioned that the case would likely be around in the appellate system, and that has proven true. Recently, a New York appeals court reversed the trial court ruling and held that the policy excludes flood loss and the several million dollar business interruption claim the car dealership presented.1 The trial court opinion last year2 had found coverage for the policyholder’s business interruption claim despite a flood exclusion.


Continue Reading Business Interruption Coverage Stripped From Car Dealership

Unless you have been consciously trying to avoid it, you cannot help but know that is going on regarding Hurricane Sandy and the engineering fraud that seems to have run rampant in the claims handling process. FEMA has not stepped into the breach to resolve all of the litigation that has come about as a result of the fraud committed against flood insurance policyholders.


Continue Reading FEMA’s Rush to Resolve Sandy Fraud Issues May Only Scratch the Surface