Archives: Insurance

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Policyholder Law Firms Should Ethically Be Hiring More Judicial Clerks

Ian Dankelman is a former federal judicial law clerk who is a fantastic attorney at Merlin Law Group. We were talking about how our firm could hire other judicial law clerks who want to help people and small businesses fighting insurance companies. He said that he received—and then showed me a letter from—an insurance defense … Continue Reading

Arson of Vacant House: Covered Fire Loss or Excluded Vandalism?

In a recent case,1 a federal appeals court addressed the issue of whether fire damage to a vacant dwelling from an arsonist was considered distinct from vandalism, so as to not implicate an exclusion within a homeowners insurance policy. In that case, Wells Fargo Bank owned an insurance policy on an abandoned house that an … Continue Reading

A Podcast for Everything? Insurance Podcasts Exist

I currently have an hour and forty-five minute commute (until my house sells and I can move closer to the office). As you can imagine, listening to the same songs on the radio over and over can get old after a while. Thankfully, Mike Buonocore from our Red Bank office introduced me to the world … Continue Reading

Restoration Contractor Revenue and Profit Is Important If Policyholders Are Going To Get Quality Work

Steve Patrick is a guru for those estimating property insurance losses. He made a suggestion on Level The Playing Field, for a construction book, Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited. His suggestion caught my eye since Merlin Law Group keeps this work in our reference library. This book is an excellent reference which contractors, property loss … Continue Reading

Do I Have Enough Insurance? Underinsured Homes Are Epidemic

Hurricane Katrina was a huge warning to me about the problem of underinsured homes. We represented hundreds of “slabbed” homes—those where the only thing left was a concrete slab. Virtually all of them were severely underinsured. Some may suggest that this is the most widespread coverage gap.… Continue Reading

When Is My Flood Claim Preempted?

With Hurricane Dorian causing flooding on the east coast as we speak the question, I often get asked is: when can I sue my flood insurer for a violation of state law? Recently the Corpus Christi Division of the Southern District of Texas addressed the question.… Continue Reading

Insured’s Prejudgment Interest Award Runs From Date Appraisal Was Demanded

Dewey Hill owned eight townhome buildings in Minnesota insured by Auto-Owners.1 On August 16, 2013, a hail and windstorm damaged the buildings. Three days later, Dewey Hill notified Auto-Owners of the loss and submitted written property loss notices ten days later. Auto-Owners investigated the claim and approximately nine months later issued its first payment to … Continue Reading

Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in Federal Flood Cases Under the Equal Access to Justice Act?

A recent Southern District of Florida decision addressed this issue.1 A property in Islamorada, Florida, which was owned by the estate of Raymond K. Hampson, was damaged by Hurricane Irma in September 2017. The personal representative for the estate, Timothy R. Hampson (“Hampson”) made a claim for damages under the standard flood insurance policy (“SFIP”) … Continue Reading

The Emotional Toll of Hurricanes

Brian Malone is a dear friend and a Bahamian whose immediate family is about to have a horrific experience caused by Hurricane Dorian. Brian’s parents and relatives live in Hope Town on the Abaco Islands which is part of the Bahamas. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes are terrible freaks of nature, but living through 24 … Continue Reading

Insurance Is Not a Commodity – It’s Not All About the Price

Note: This guest post is by David Thompson, CPCU, AAI, API, CRIS, an instructor at the Florida Association of Insurance Agents for over 23 years. Prior to that he worked in a family-owned insurance agency for over ten years. He was a commissioned officer in the United States Army and the United States Coast Guard … Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael NFIP Proof of Loss Deadline Approaches

The time is now to button up those flood claims. The deadline for submission of the sworn statement of a Hurricane Michael flood loss, known as the Proof of Loss (‘POL”), is 365 days from the date of loss,1 which is October 10, 2019, for those in the Panhandle of Florida. The POL is the … Continue Reading

Are Insurance Company Adjusters Really Working Around the Clock and Making Accurate Estimates?

“Not with Hurricane Michael claims” is the answer to these questions being screamed by policyholders, contractors and public adjusters. The blog title and questions were plucked from CJW’s website which also says most adjusters have a difficult time making accurate estimates but CJW does not because their adjusters “work ‘round the clock” to make accurate … Continue Reading

Court Does Not Pity the Fool Who Does Not Fully Read His Insurance Policy

Chip Merlin frequently stresses the importance of reading the whole insurance policy when determining whether there is coverage for the relevant property damage. The failure to do so was highlighted in a recent case,1 where a Pennsylvania federal court stated it could not ignore the specific terms of an insurance policy merely because the insured … Continue Reading

Closed Claim File Statistics Following Hurricanes

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. —Mark Twain Closed claim file statistics reported by various departments of insurance following hurricanes seem absurd to those in the impacted areas and those working in the insurance claim business. The root of the problem is that most departments of insurance put pressure on insurance companies to … Continue Reading

California Regulations Require That an Insurer’s Preferred Vendor Return Property to Its Pre-Loss Condition – A Quick Guide to What You Need to Know

It is becoming more and more common that insurance companies are recommending and suggesting that their “preferred vendors” perform loss repairs. California offers insureds protection if they opt to use a preferred vendor. Under the Fairs Claims Settlement Practices Regulations, if an insurer recommends a vendor, the insurer is essentially required to guaranty that vendor’s … Continue Reading

Yee-Haw!! Meet Your Tapia Cowpoke Friends in the Cowtown Capital of Texas—Fort Worth—For the Fall Conference October 15-17, 2019

The Round-up: The Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (“TAPIA”) has lassoed and corralled a great group of speakers and events that you absolutely will not want to miss this fall in Fort Worth. If you register by August 31st, members will only have to “pony-up” $149 and non-member, first timers $195. If you don’t … Continue Reading

Reflections on Superstorm Sandy Along the Jersey Shore Almost Seven Years After the Catastrophe

Larry Bathgate was my co-counsel on 23 municipal insurance claims Following Superstorm Sandy and countless commercial and residential claims as well. We spoke on Friday evening and Saturday morning about our former clients, the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore and our law practices. From my view, there has been an amazing transformation and it was … Continue Reading
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