When engaged by a member of the public to obtain insurance, an insurance broker is expected to possess reasonable knowledge of the types of policies, their different terms, and the coverage available in the area in which their insured seeks to be protected. If the insurance broker neglects to procure the insurance or if the policy is void or materially deficient or does not provide the coverage they undertook to supply because of their failure to exercise the requisite skill or diligence, the insurance broker may be liable to their insured for the loss sustained.
Continue Reading Assignment of Insurance Broker Negligence Claims Invalid Prior to Judgment

In a recent court opinion,1 the New Jersey Appellate Division interpreted a homeowner’s insurance policy’s water damage exclusion and determined whether damage from a broken municipal water main under a public street was covered under the policy. In that case, a homeowner brought an action against his insurer for breach of contract after the insurer disclaimed coverage on the basis that damage to his real and personal property resulting from a broken water main was excluded under the policy as flood, surface and ground water intrusion.
Continue Reading Broken Water Main Damage: Flood or Not Flood Under Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

On January 30, 2019, New Jersey residents suffered a tremendous loss. Marcal Paper, in Elmwood Park, New Jersey on the edge of Route 80, burned to the ground. Along with it, 80 years of a family owned business, jobs, community, and an iconic sign that lit up Route 80 were lost.
Continue Reading The Marcal Paper Fire: A Sad Demise to a New Jersey Landmark

In an important New Jersey policyholder decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently addressed New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act (CFA) and ruled the CFA applies to an insurer’s deceptive claims handling practices as well as the sale of insurance policies.1
Continue Reading Third Circuit Court of Appeals Allows New Jersey Policyholder’s Consumer Protection Claims Against Insurer for Deceptive Claims Handling

In a recent op-ed article published in the Star Ledger, Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman debunked the myth that insurance companies have been using for decades to prevent good faith claims handling bills from passing through the legislature. As Feinman noted, insurance companies argue that the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) is unnecessary and would be harmful, suggesting the bill would dramatically raise insurance premiums.
Continue Reading Rutgers Law Professor Debunks Notion of Increased Premiums With New Jersey Fair Conduct Act

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Recently, I have been working on several cases alleging negligence against an insurance broker or agent. Here in New Jersey, we have some of the strongest laws in the country helping malpractice litigation against insurance brokers for their errors and omissions.
Continue Reading Reading Insurance Policies—Do I Have to Read My Insurance Policy Before the Loss?

Recently, the New Jersey Senate passed S-2144, entitled the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act. While the bill still must go through the Assembly and be signed by the Governor, this is much welcomed news by insureds and their representatives. Since 1993, insureds have had basically no right to bad faith claims against their insurers under the blanket of the Picket v. Lloyd “fairly debatable” standard.1
Continue Reading New Jersey Senate Passes Bad Faith Bill

Accord and satisfaction are legal terms frequently used in insurance contract dispute and often included in any insurance carrier’s Answer and Affirmative Defenses to any complaint filed. An agreement (accord) between two contracting parties to accept alternate performance to discharge a preexisting duty between them and the subsequent performance (satisfaction) of that agreement.
Continue Reading Policyholder Deposits Check and Loses Rights!

One of the most common questions we hear from our clients has to do with the differences between “actual cash value” and “replacement cost value.” Replacement cost value on its face seems relatively straight forward, but what is “Actual Cash Value” determined under New Jersey law?
Continue Reading The Proper Standard for Evaluating “Actual Cash Value” Under New Jersey Law