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.


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I am taking a quick break from my series on claims handling guidelines to write about an issue that is probably just coming up for many folks in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The other night I was showing my wife Chip Merlin’s blog about the Gatlinburg fires and then we looked at photos of the devastation there. Because she knows attorneys in our firm travel quite a bit, she asked if I would be going down there to assist with claims.


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All public adjusters would love to get retained as soon as possible after the date of loss. Unfortunately, often, the public adjuster gets hired months or even a year after the date of loss. In that case, if the first notice of claim filed with the carrier comes from the public adjuster then the carrier will assert that the “prompt notice” provision of the policy was not complied with. However, that is another topic and one I have extensively blogged about.


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States differ regarding the time frame required for a first-party property insurance carrier to pay undisputed amounts on a claim. In Florida, for a residential first-party property insurance claim, the carrier is required to pay undisputed amounts within 90 days after receipt of notice of the claim, if these three things have occurred:1

  1. The insurer receives notice of the loss;
  2. The insurer determines the amount of partial or full benefits; and
  3. The insurer agrees to coverage.


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I was recently asked by a collegue how long an insurance carrier has to pay a claim once it has been submitted. Because I maintain a database of regulations for the fifty states at my desk, I could answer the question quickly, but I realized that having a quick reference for these materials might be helpful for others, and with that a blog series was born. I hope to work through all fifty states to discuss the regulations (or lack thereof) that affect claims handling. Naturally, the first stop is the Garden State.


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