Misrepresentations in an insurance policy application may provide a basis for an insurance company to deny an otherwise valid claim following a loss. In such circumstances, the insurance company argues that the insurance policy was null and void from its inception based on the misrepresentation because it would not have issued the policy or would not have issued it under the same terms if the representation had not been made.
Continue Reading Can My Insurance Company Deny My Claim After A Loss Based Upon A Misrepresentation in My Insurance Policy Application?

My Red Bank colleague, Dan Ballard, and I recently gave a presentation about Misrepresentations & Mistakes at the 2020 Fall Conference of the Professional Public Adjusters Association of New Jersey (PPAANJ). During that presentation, I discussed New York case law providing that a homeowners insurance policy may be voided if the insured willfully and fraudulently places in the proof of loss a statement of property lost which the insured did not possess, or places a false and fraudulent value upon the articles which the insured did not own.
Continue Reading Incorrect Information Within Proof of Loss Not Enough To Void Insurance Policy

(Note: This guest blog is by Kathryn Ray, a Summer Law Clerk in our Tampa office)

When sustaining property or casualty damage and after filing a claim with an insurance company, the insurance company may then request a proof of loss. A proof of loss is defined as “a policyholder’s statement of the amount of money being requested, signed to and sworn to by the policyholder with documentation to support the amount being requested.”1 In New York, if an insurance company gives the insured a written notice, after a loss, requesting a proof of loss the insured shall then have 60 days after receiving this notice to comply with the insurance company’s request.2 This compliance period to provide the insurance company with a proof of loss may also be longer than 60 days if the insurer specifies so in their written notice.3
Continue Reading Misrepresentations and Proofs of Loss in New York

Insurance applications are important. A Florida trial court recently held that an unsworn and unsigned telephonic statement made during an application for insurance does not qualify as former testimony or a business record under the Florida Rules of Evidence, thereby making it inadmissible as summary judgment evidence.1
Continue Reading Statements Made During an Application for Insurance are Important

It is not uncommon that a homeowner may suffer hailstorm damage and receive an actual cash value payment, but not make all the repairs before the next hailstorm hits. This is the situation that arose in Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina v. Sela.1
Continue Reading Insurer Acted in Bad Faith Where it Could Identify No Specific Misrepresentations Made by the Insured

New Jersey Merlin Law Group attorney Jason Cieri was married last week. It was a fantastic wedding. It also provided me a chance to catch-up with some Jersey Shore public adjusters, discuss the upcoming PPAANJ seminar on November 14 and write this blog which includes a case discussion involving post loss misrepresentations made prior to an examination under oath.
Continue Reading Misrepresentations Made After Loss But Before An Examination Under Oath

It can be difficult after a fire for an insured to remember with 100% certainty what personal property they had in their home. Most likely, receipts and other purchase records have also been destroyed. As such, public adjusters in preparing estimates and/or proofs of loss are typically left to rely upon the insured’s memory. After all, who knows better than the insured what property was there before the fire? But what if there are inaccuracies in the proof or estimate….is that enough to cause the claim to be denied based on the concealment and misrepresentation clause?
Continue Reading Can Misrepresentations In a Proof of Loss Void Coverage?

Suspicion runs rampant with some insurance companies when it comes to alleged arson. Even if they cannot prove the policyholder had anything to do with a fire, some adjusters cannot help to look for other ways to deny an insurance claim. In Hayes vs. Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company,1 an insurer was held liable for bad faith denial of an insurance claim even though the policyholder did not win the breach of contract action because the policyholder failed to file his lawsuit within the one-year statute of limitations.
Continue Reading Bad Faith May Arise Out Of Wrongful Misrepresentation in Application Denial