The vast majority of property owners have never read the dozens (sometimes hundreds) of pages that comprise their property insurance policy. For most, the contents of the policy read like a foreign language, and how the conditions, exclusions, and other provisions could potentially apply to a future loss is not easily understandable.
Continue Reading Read Your Policy Renewal Closely – Important Changes May Be Buried in the Fine Print

In litigation, this type of question can come up more than one might imagine. For example, in response to a Complaint, an insurance carrier may allege that an insured failed to attend an Examination Under Oath (“EUO”) or submit a sworn proof of loss, only to later discover that no such request had ever been made. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal addressed this very issue in First Home Insurance Company v. Fleurimond.1
Continue Reading When is an Insured Required to Attend an EUO or Submit a Sworn Proof of Loss?

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
—Robin Williams

Carefully reading your insurance policy is crucial because the interpretation of just one word can impact whether a policy provides coverage for your loss. Sometimes coverage can turn on a simple conjunction such as the word “and.”
Continue Reading Every Word Matters in a Property Insurance Policy

A policy is a contract and should represent the clear intent of both parties under the agreement. But what happens if what was intended to be covered under a policy is not actually described in the policy?
Continue Reading Can An Insurance Claim Be Denied If The Policy’s Property Description Does Not Match The Property That Has Been Under The Same Insurance For Years?

In reviewing policies, I have noticed a scary trend for policyholders: Insurance companies are often making changes to policy language limiting insureds coverage or ability to recover when renewing the policy. If you are like many policyholders when you get your renewal every year and the declarations page shows that your limits went up and the premiums went up you assume you have the same coverage as last year.
Continue Reading A Policy Renewal May Cost Insureds

A few years ago, I asked Merlin Law Group attorney Doug Grose, “How did we end up in arbitration in London, England with policy delivered in Texas, a loss in Houston, Texas and our client from Houston, Texas?” He told me there was an arbitration provision and the federal court ordered us to go to arbitration in London because that is where the policy required the arbitration take place. I asked Doug: ”Geez, forgetting the extraordinary increased cost to our client do this, what chance do you think we have in arbitration in London against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London?”
Continue Reading Choice of Law and Arbitration Provisions in Texas—Beware of These Provisions Which May Apply Laws of Another State

The title to this post would almost certainly be answered “no” by any insurance regulator or consumer advocate. But Liberty Mutual Insurance Company argues this is exactly what it can do with no consequence because the fraudulent and deceptive statements in the declarations should have been found by the policyholder reading the fine print in the policy endorsement—which is anything other than an enhanced product.
Continue Reading Can Insurance Companies Send Declaration Pages Which Indicate Enhanced Coverage Yet Deliver Diminished Coverage In The Fine Print In The Back of Endorsements?

The Mid-Atlantic Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (MAPIA) held a meeting this past week with about thirty-five public adjusters in attendance. President Paul Yemm, yours truly, Holly Soffer, and Tony DiUlio are pictured above. Soffer and Diulio gave a wonderful insurance gaps presentation that was highlighted Tony DiUlio’s discussion of a water loss that resulted in a bad faith verdict against State Farm.
Continue Reading Water Loss From Toilet Overflow Is Covered Despite State Farm Denial