Depreciation of labor when determining actual cash value is being raised in cases throughout the country with mixed results. In,
Tennessee Tornado Terror and The Insurance Claim Aftermath, I noted that Tennessee recently ruled labor will not be deprecated for tornado policyholders. So, what would be the result if those tornados had gone slightly east and hit North Carolina? Does North Carolina allow insurance companies to depreciate labor of a structure to arrive at actual cash value?
Continue Reading Does North Carolina Allow Depreciation of Labor When Determining Actual Cash Value?

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. My favorite policy exclusions carriers cite to deny property damage claims are wear, tear, and deterioration, improper workmanship, and construction defect. Do you know whether your state is a concurrent causation state? This could mean the difference between coverage and no coverage for a loss.
Continue Reading North Carolina – Concurrent Causation

The reasonable expectations doctrine could be outcome determinative in coverage disputes in the Tar Heel State. Two doctrines courts often consider when analyzing policy interpretation are the doctrines of (1) contra proferentem and (2) the insured’s “reasonable expectations.” North Carolina state courts embrace the doctrine of contra proferentem while its adoption of the reasonable expectations doctrine is more limited. The doctrine of contra proferentem is one of contract interpretation and construes any ambiguity in the contract against the party who drafted the contract. North Carolina state courts apply this principle in policy interpretation. Courts look to the plain meaning of the contract. Strict construction applies unless there is an ambiguity. In the property insurance context, North Carolina state courts use this rule to interpret policy terms liberally in favor of the policyholder and strictly against the insurance company since the insurance company chose the language in the policy.
Continue Reading Reasonable Expectations – North Carolina

North Carolina was battered by Hurricane Florence last year and reports show very concerning issues of claims handling and low claim payments after the storm. Perhaps Hurricane Michael losses pulled adjusters out of North Carolina and for some insureds caused additional delays to their claims. North Carolina does have an option where you can advise the North Carolina Department of Insurance the details of your claim, but the system is not very user friendly—even the person answering the phone advised that the online version is hard to find on the website.
Continue Reading How to File A Complaint with the North Carolina Department of Insurance About Your Denying, Delaying and Bad Treating Insurance Company

The North Carolina Insurance Commissioner, Mike Causey, gets an A+ grade for his recent bulletin requiring greater investigation of otherwise hidden areas behind walls to ensure losses are being adjusted properly. This bulletin will certainly help victims of Hurricane Florence with hurricane claims.
Continue Reading North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Requires More Thorough Investigation of Hidden Water Damage and Hurricane Florence Claims

The widespread devastation of Hurricane Florence brought to a recent discussion the question of whether assignment of benefits contracts for property insurance proceeds are enforceable in North Carolina. This is a great question. In a general setting, vendors, services providers and contractors begin their work with a down payment and receive additional payments as work progresses, with many jurisdictions recognizing a contractor’s lien or service lien against the benefactor if they are not paid in full.
Continue Reading An AOB? Can we do that? – Assignment of Benefits in North Carolina

Florence battered the Carolina Coast with 90mph winds when it made landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 2018. Florence downgraded to a tropical storm Friday evening and is now crawling across South Carolina at a drastically slow rate of approximately 5mph. The Carolinas are now facing the devastating effects of catastrophic storm surge, flash flooding, and prolonged river flooding. Some parts of North Carolina are already inundated with over thirty inches of rain.
Continue Reading Hurricane Florence – What Does My Flood Insurance Policy Cover?

Hurricane Florence insurance claims are the headache that starts after Florence damages your business or home. There is nothing easy about having your property destroyed—either emotionally or financially. It is going to hurt. I and a number of Merlin Law Group lawyers have been doing this work full time for as long as anybody in the business. We have seen the emotional toll from hurricanes and the insurance claim process. We have seen the financial stress caused when dealing with insurance company payments that are not fast enough and simply not enough. We are here to help policyholders get over this hurt and frustration.
Continue Reading Your Hurricane Florence Insurance Claim: Tips From an Experienced Policyholder Lawyer For Business and Homeowner Insurance Hurricane Claims