Tropical Storm Arthur starts off the 2008 hurricane season with some early inning excitement.  In my line of work, I am always asked during the summer months how many hurricanes there will be and where they will hit.  The newspapers are full of stories from meteorologic prognosticators regarding these events.  I simply reply it is a guess:  the odds are a major hurricane will form in the Gulf of Mexico and there may be an Atlantic Coast hurricane as well.  The truth is nobody knows. But the fact that nobody knows does not mean that you should not be vigilant, especially along the Gulf Coast areas in June and July. 

Continue Reading First Day of Hurricane Season and the First Named Storm is History

 June 1st starts another hurricane season.  USA Today quoted the Climate Prediction Center as saying, "there’s no reason to think that break [from hurricanes over the past two years] will continue."  In short, they think the probabilities are good (or bad, if you think about it) that a few times this year somebody, somewhere, is going to get whacked along the coastal areas. There are several things people and businesses should do now to prepare and then to remember as the season progresses. 

Continue Reading Another Hurricane Season

 It’s about time.  For a decade, Allstate has refused to comply with discovery and court rules regarding its internal documents which demonstrate who, how and why Allstate redesigned everything in its claims program to simply pay less on claims. The Florida First District Court of Appeal issued an opinion which condemns many of the tactics Allstate and its attorneys have long used to thumb its nose at judges. 

Continue Reading The Good Hands Gets the Iron Fist

That’s the annual revenue of United Casualty parent, Unitrin, a company with a branded glass tower at One Wacker Drive in Chicago.  To put things in perspective, even if United Casualty had paid policy limits to our clients for damages caused to their homes by Hurricane Charley, it would have probably still been shy of

If there is any question about whether consumers or insurance company officials have the power and control the legislative process, all one has to do is read the Linn’s Stamp News article of May 12, 2008.  It speaks for itself:

Bill set to name post office for lobbyist By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent Nothing in

 Either the Governor of Florida or Allstate is not telling the truth. The lead front page story of the St. Petersburg Times stated the following:"Gov. Charlie Crist confirmed the Allstate offer was floated recently, and he promptly rejected it. Allstate officials said…..that no offer had been made." Which is it?

Is Allstate accusing the Governor of

The St. Petersburg Times ran a story regarding our firm’s involvement with influencing pro-policyholder legislation and regulation.  One would think that if the insurance industry was truly most interested in their customers, they would support our efforts. The exact opposite is what happens, and my impression of the worst offenders in Florida are Citizens, Allstate and State Farm. These three insurance companies (Citizens is actually a governmental entity, by legislation it lobbied for) lobby our regulators and legislators to block laws that support and protect consumers as well as limit what few rights policyholders have through statute. Their financial and manpower resources are significant. These resources implemented through studied strategy along with well crafted propaganda in the news and ads make them formidable opponents to laws that would even the playing field for policyholders. Heck, they even have their bought for legislators use scare tactics if such pro-policyholder laws or enforcement of the same were to occur as exemplified in this past Thursday’s front page article regarding insurance reform.

We sent a letter in response to inaccuracies of the Times article.

Continue Reading Times Story Not Accurate

 The Tampa Tribune reported Friday that the Florida Department of Insurance is seeking McKinsey & Company consulting reports which are allegedly tied to an Allstate plan to underpay claimants.  These documents are at the heart of contention in a Colorado case where Allstate is being fined for not providing them, and also in a Missouri Department of Insurance investigation where Allstate is being fined $25,000 per day for refusing to cooperate with the state regulator’s investigation.  I am seeking similar documents in an Indiana case in which Allstate has been already sanctioned and ordered to provide them. For over a decade, I have criticized Allstate’s reliance on a claims program which appears to unethically calculate the value of an individual’s bodily injury claim and not honestly disclose how Allstate arrived at its determination.

Continue Reading States Seek McKinsey Reports

Since 1985, Merlin Law Group has exclusively focused on Insurance Claim Presentation & Litigation, Insurance Coverage and Claim Disputes, and Insurance Bad Faith for both residential and commercial property insurance policyholders.  The firm’s goal is to ensure that insurance policyholders are treated fairly and adequately by insurance companies when they suffer a loss. It helps