Chip Merlin and John Garaffa
Chip Merlin and John Garaffa

It is amusing and almost stunning to find others who used to be young attorney “rookies” in this field of property insurance law become masters. John Garaffa of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig, is now a master in this field of law. He captured the room of property insurance law lawyers with what would normally be an impossible boring discussion regarding insurable interest. He provided specific examples explaining concepts and issues of insurable interest only gained through experience and a long time of thoughtful study. If my mentor, Paul Butler, could hear him, I am certain he would be proud.
Continue Reading John Garaffa on Insurable Interest

I learned a long time ago that picking brilliant people as partners was a good way to win at tennis doubles, sailing, high school chemistry classes and physics labs. Dr. George Edwards, pictured below at my home, would have been my first round draft pick of all time:

Continue Reading Taking Part in The Affairs of The Day, Advocating for a Leadership View of George Edwards and Supporting the Poynter Institute

Ever get a job assignment you wish went to anybody other than you? The First Party Claims Conference had one speaker drop out of a presentation, Subrogation Opportunities Do’s and Don’ts, for which Jean Niven of our firm was the co-panelist. I had not prepared materials for a presentation nor given a public speech on subrogation topics since 1984, when I was still with Paul Butler representing insurers. While the novel issues concerning my presentation on The Science of Roof Damage Claims excited me, the truth is that claim issues of subrogation can be tedious for all adjusters. It is often an overlooked area of claims handling-especially from the policyholder’s perspective.

Continue Reading Uninsured Loss Recovery for Policyholders and Subrogation Opportunities for Insurers: True Win/Win Claims Scenarios

Just a reminder, my post, FEMA Grants An Additional 60 Day Extension For Ike And Gustav Victims To File Flood Proofs Of Loss, indicated that the deadline for having Flood Proofs of Loss in the hands of the flood insurers is on Friday, August 7, 2009. Please check for any changes and bulletins. In another prior post, A Warning Regarding Federal Flood Proofs Of Loss, I indicated:

Continue Reading Federal Flood Proofs of Loss Due on Friday and a Flood Case Showing How Unfair it Can Be to Fight National Flood in Court

Every now and then, Courts follow the rule of law that insurance policies are supposed to be interpreted as a regular person would do so—not as a trained insurance law expert would interpret them. In DEB Associates v. Greater New York Mutual Insurance Company, 407 N.J. Super. 287, 970 A.2d 1074 (N.J.Super. A.D. June 1, 2009), the court granted coverage for the increased costs of construction caused by pre-existing building codes. The court followed this rule.

Continue Reading Increased Cost of Compliance to Code and Ordinance or Law Coverage for a Typical Loss Situation

Paul Butler was my first legal mentor. John Pappas was a classmate of mine at the University of Florida School of Law, and the best man in my wedding. They have built a hundred attorney law firm representing solely insurance companies. We have cases against them all the time. As they are physically located several floors below us in the same office building, and both David Pettinato and I worked at the firm in different eras, we have a pretty good idea of what our familiar foes are about.

Continue Reading Butler Pappas–A Familiar Foe