Defendant Insureds, Lonergan Law Firm, PLLC, et al. (“Lonergan”), recently appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals a Northern District of Texas ruling against it, which found it failed to meet a material condition of the policy by not sending its Notice of Claim (“Notice”) to the Claims Department. Landmark American Insurance Co. (“Landmark”) filed suit against its insureds seeking to avoid liability for coverage by arguing that, even though it received notice via a Claim Supplement during the policy period, the insureds failed to send the notice to the location mandated by the Policy.1
Continue Reading Notice of Claim: Precatory “Please” Does Not a Mandatory “Shall” Make

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

Can you imagine your 85-year-old grandmother or your uncoordinated friend who has never climbed a ladder going up on a slanted roof and inspecting it for wind or hail damage after a storm? Most insurance company lawyers argue the position that their client’s customers have to do this to satisfy the requirement that a loss must be reported “promptly.”
Continue Reading Arkansas Insurance Department Recognizes That Policyholders Do Not Normally Climb on Roofs To Inspect For Damage

Policy language varies when it comes to how and when an insured is required to give notice of a claim. Some policies have a definitive time frame setting forth when notice must be given, but others use terms such as “prompt,” “immediate” or “as soon as practicable.” When the policy does not provide a definitive timeframe, the question of whether an insured’s notice complied with the policy’s notice requirement can be questioned. In such situations, courts will look to various factors to determine whether the insured’s notice was “reasonable.”
Continue Reading Reasonableness of Notice…Is it Fact Specific?

As any contributor on this blog will tell you, the first step in assessing any claim is to read the Policy. Policy language is ever evolving and changing, especially when it comes to notice requirements. The purpose of a notice requirement in an insurance policy is to enable the insurer to make a timely and thorough investigation.1 Many policies however contain language which provides that notice is to be provided “as soon as practicable,” “promptly,” “immediately” or “within a reasonable time.”
Continue Reading Assessing the “Reasonableness” of Notice

Colorado policyholders should be mindful to review their insurance policies for time limit considerations that may bar them from pursuing insurance benefits beyond two years after the May 8, 2017, hailstorm. While Colorado requires that any action against an insurance company for failure to pay covered benefits must be brought within three years of the date of loss, Colorado allows insurance companies to contractually reduce this time period to as little as six months in commercial and business owner policies of insurance. Failing to bring an action within this prescribed period can ultimately lead to the inability to seek legal recourse where an insurance company is failing to pay covered benefits.
Continue Reading Two Year Anniversary Approaching for Colorado’s May 8, 2017 Hailstorm

Many of us in Central Colorado remember the hail storm that wreaked havoc on the Denver metro area in May 2017. What happens when hailstorm damage to your property does not manifest itself for a period of months, or even a year later? Should a claim be denied for being reported once discovered? Unfortunately, the standard surrounding late notice continues to be unclear in the Colorado courts today.
Continue Reading Colorado Notice Standard Update For Residential and Commercial Property Damage

One of the most offensive examples of insurance company claims managers losing their ethical way is when they demand that their insureds risk life and limb to immediately investigate their roofs after a hail storm. Most insurance policies require “prompt notice” of loss. But, does the insurance company ever warn its customers they must risk their lives to climb on their roofs or pay money for somebody else after every hail storm?
Continue Reading Prompt Notice of Hail Damage—What is It? Why Do Insurers Fetch Their Lawyers to Claim Non-Compliance? Should Insurers Expect Their Insureds To Dangerously Climb Roofs When OSHA Regulations Prevent Their Own Adjusters From Doing the Same?