Some losses are not as readily apparent to policyholders as a fire or significant water loss. The policyholder may not discover the damage until days, weeks or months after the loss occurred. This can often be the case for hail losses to roofs. However, when the policyholder gives notice weeks or months after the loss, the insurance carrier will often claim late notice and rely on the notice condition in the insurance policy to deny coverage.


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Readers of our blog know that the attorneys at Merlin Law Group practice nationwide and report on issues and cases nationwide. I recently began working on a new case in Nebraska, so I thought I would share with you a recent case1 there regarding notice requirements.

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In a recent blog I discussed how a Second Circuit Court of Appeals case, Fabrozzi v. Lexington Insurance Company,1 interpreted the law regarding “Late Notice” expansively in favor of policyholders. A recent New York State Court of Appeals ruling has failed to continue this expansion and has left the law as it was regarding a carrier’s duty to deny a claim based on late notice.


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In practically every insurance policy, a policyholder is required to give prompt notice of the claim before the insurance company has any responsibility to act on the claim.

What happens if the policyholder substantially delays in giving notice of the claim, or in some circumstances, fails to give notice altogether? Is the policyholder’s claim automatically barred or forfeited?


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The Fourth District Court of Appeals in Florida recently issued another opinion in a late notice Hurricane Wilma case, Slominski v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.1 The Court clarified its previous opinion in Kroener v. FIGA.2 Citizens argued in Slominski that Kroener stands for the proposition that a claim made over two and one-half years after the date of loss is barred as a matter of law due to the late notice.


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The Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals has been busy with late notice Hurricane Wilma cases on appeal. Trial courts within the Fourth District have disposed of these cases, finding as a matter of law that late notice prejudiced insurers. Judges generally decide questions of law, while questions of fact are left for the trier of fact, typically a jury. It is often a reversible error for a judge to take a factual determination away from the jury.


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