With cold temperatures gripping my home State of New Jersey, my mind (and research) brings me to warmer locations. In a recent case,1 a federal court in Georgia held that an insured’s 11-month delay in filing a claim after a loss was not justified and provided the insurer with a reasonable ground to deny the claim.
Continue Reading Is Eleven Months Too Long a Delay in Filing a Claim with an Insurer After a Loss?

Late notice of damage to roofs is a common issue. Most people do not report damage from a windstorm to a roof unless it leaks. Do insurers expect that after every windstorm that their customers report a potential loss to them for inspection? Do insurers expect all of their policyholders to climb up on their roofs to look for damage?
Continue Reading How Late Can Late Notice of Loss Be of Roof Damage in South Carolina?

The defense of late notice has increasingly been used as a technical defense to preclude coverage for covered losses caused by covered perils. While some states have issued bulletins (targeting these strategies,1 often the determination of whether coverage will be afforded will depend upon whether a particular state requires that an insurance company demonstrate that the untimely notice caused prejudice in the investigation of the claim. While it would seem the denial of coverage due to an action that has no material effect on the insurer would further the purpose of having insurance, several states still apply a traditional notice rule that does not require a showing of prejudice.2
Continue Reading Montana Requires Insurance Company to Demonstrate Prejudice When Denying a Claim for Late Notice

With the closure of the statute of limitations for Hurricane Irma related claims, we are faced more and more with claim denials based, in part, on “prompt notice” and/or “late notice” language from the insurance carrier. But was the claim actually reported late? Well, that depends on the reporting requirements as outlined in the insurance policy.
Continue Reading Was the Insurance Claim Really Late Reported?

Some insurance companies look for ways to deny insurance claims. One method is to use the “prompt notice” of loss requirement found in property insurance policies. State laws vary, but in Florida, the determination of whether “prompt notice” has been given and whether prejudice has occurred because of late notice is generally a fact question for a jury to determine.
Continue Reading Has Your Insurance Company Denied Your Claim Because of Failure To Provide Prompt Notice?

The California Supreme Court emphasized that the notice-prejudice rule in first-party insurance contract is a fundamental public policy that can override a choice-of law provision in certain circumstances.
Continue Reading Is the California Notice-Prejudice Rule a Fundamental Public Policy For Purposes of Choice of Law Analysis?

Every insurance policy outlines certain duties a policyholder is required to perform following a loss. However, the prompt notice provision appears to be increasingly gaining traction by opportunistic insurance companies and their defense attorneys who seek to use this as a technicality to avoid liability for an otherwise covered loss.
Continue Reading New Mexico Requires Insurance Company to Demonstrate Substantial Prejudice Before Denying a Claim for Late Notice

Last week the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana granted Travelers Indemnity Company’s Motion for Summary Judgment allowing them to dodge hail damage claims made by policyholder Mapleton at Countryside Condominium Association Inc. (“Mapleton”).1 Mapleton brought suit against Travelers for breach of contract and bad faith following two hailstorms impacting their buildings in June 2016 and April 2017. The hailstorms caused damage to the condominium’s siding estimated at $2.58 million.
Continue Reading Court Finds Hailstorm Claims Made “Unreasonably Late”

Insurance policies always have time deadlines to do something after a loss happens. The failure to follow these may prevent recovery. I will be discussing and answering questions about these policy time requirements over the next several weeks during our Tuesdays at 2 With Chip Merlin.
Continue Reading Time Deadlines To Be Wary Of When Filing Property Insurance and Business Income Loss Claims—Do Not Miss Tuesday At 2 With Chip Merlin

The Florida Third District Court of Appeal recently found that when a policyholder failed to substantially comply with a post-loss obligation, the insurance company is presumed to have been prejudiced by the breach.1 The burden then shifts to the policyholder to show that the failure to comply with a post-loss obligation did not prejudice the insurance company. The question remains: What have courts found to satisfy a policyholder’s burden of showing that reporting a claim late did not prejudice the insurance company?
Continue Reading Overcoming the Prejudice of Late Reporting