After having suffered a dish washer leak to their home, policyholders submitted a claim to their insurance company. The insurance company sent the policyholders a Reservation of Rights letter requesting a signed, sworn proof of loss within 60 days. The homeowners failed to meet this deadline and submitted their sworn proof of loss after the insurance company filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and material breach. The trial court entered a final summary judgment for the insurance company based upon the failure of the insureds to comply with their obligation to provide a sworn proof of loss, and the policyholders appealed.1
Continue Reading Late Filed Proof of Loss – Does Delay Result in Denial?

Insurance policies impose a duty on insureds to cooperate with the insurer’s investigation of a claim. An insured’s duty to cooperate encompasses the insured’s obligation to appear for an examination under oath (“EUO”), if requested, and to provide documentation verifying the loss. “Cooperation clauses” generally have been held to be material provisions of insurance policies with compliance therewith a condition precedent to coverage.
Continue Reading Can My Insurance Company Deny My Claim For Failure to Cooperate With Its Investigation?

While appraisal can be used by an insurance company as a method of delaying claims and avoiding complete payment, there are circumstances when entering appraisal is in the best interest of the insured. Whatever the reason for seeking this cost-efficient procedure, it is important to consider what the courts view as prerequisites to utilizing their discretion to compel appraisal.
Continue Reading How to Force an Insurer into Appraisal in Florida – Satisfaction of Post-Loss Obligations

After a catastrophe such as Hurricane Laura, it is common that policyholders may not have a full copy of their insurance policy. Often the only policy document they may have in their possession is the Declaration Page showing a summary of the insurance benefits available to them. Though helpful, a full policy is necessary to inform the policyholders of their rights and duties under the insurance policy.
Continue Reading Hurricane Laura Recovery: Policyholder’s Duties After a Loss

Mick Jagger sang that “time is on my side.” That is not true when it comes to insurance policies. At 2 PM EST today, Merlin Law Group Attorney Larry Bache and yours truly will discuss those important and often overlooked time frames for repair and replacement required under insurance policies.
Continue Reading Replacement, Repair and Law & Ordinance Time Frames—Do Not Miss Tuesday at 2 With Chip For a Discussion About Often Overlooked Time Frames

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

One question I get asked by clients after a storm has damaged their home is: “Can I start making repairs?” This can be a difficult question as the real-world factors of cost, time, availability of materials, and labor are important considerations. It is also important to understand how repairs can affect your insurance claim as most residential insurance policies I deal with include what appear to be contradicting duties to mitigate and the duty to allow the insurance company to inspect.
Continue Reading If I Start Making Repairs, Does It Affect My Insurance Claim?

In Florida, if an insured fails to meet a post-loss obligation, is it a complete bar to recovery? In a recent decision, the Third District Court of Appeal certified conflict with the Fourth District Court of Appeal and held that an insurer must be prejudiced by the insured’s non-compliance with a post-loss obligation in order for the insured to forfeit coverage.
Continue Reading Is Failing to Comply With a Post-Loss Duty an Automatic Bar to Recovery?