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FEMA Registration Deadline Extended Until January 8, 2018, for US Virgin Islands

Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria now have through January 8, 2018, to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).1 Registration is required if survivors intend to apply for federal disaster benefits, such as low-interest Small Business Administration disaster loans and/or FEMA grants for rental assistance, home repairs, … Continue Reading

Depreciation of Labor and Actual Cash Value

The Mississippi Department of Insurance just issued a bulletin regarding the depreciation of labor from Actual Cash Value. This is similar to Arkansas which Shane Smith reported in Arkansas Insurance Department Bulletin on Depreciation of Labor.… Continue Reading

Does a Residence Restriction Violate the Standard Fire Insurance Policy?

Homeowner property insurance policies usually cover the dwelling located at the “residence premises,” which is typically defined as the one, two, three, or four-family dwelling used principally as a private residence and where the insured resides. What happens if the insured is not residing in the dwelling at the time of a fire loss? Is … Continue Reading

Calculating Actual Cash Value, Part 23: Nebraska

In Nebraska, the test for calculating actual cash value is Fair Market Value. In Olson v. Le Mars Mutual Insurance Company of Iowa,1 when both the insurer and insured advocated use of the broad evidence rule, the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the test was Fair Market Value.… Continue Reading

Merlin vs Badger II – Gonna Be the Baddest Show in Orlando

The Windstorm Insurance Conference in Orlando will feature a debate re-match between yours truly representing the policyholder view and Steve Badger who represents insurance companies. Many of my policyholder friends often ask how I can have such a good professional relationship with Badger whom they view as somebody akin to Darth Vader. I am certain some … Continue Reading

Save the Date: First Party Claims Conference October 19-21, 2015 in Warwick, RI

The First Party Claims Conference (FPCC) will be hosting its annual meeting in Warwick, Rhode Island from October 19-21, 2015. For those who are unfamiliar, “FPCC is a nationally recognized provider of education specifically designed for adjusters, public adjusters, attorneys and others in the first party property insurance claims community.”   They are also closely associated … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Hosts Kindergarten Party for Attorneys in Discovery Dispute

Austin, Texas Federal Judge Sam Sparks recently issued a novel Order in response to a fairly routine discovery dispute: Greetings and Salutations! You are invited to a kindergarten party on THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1,2011, at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 2 of the United States Courthouse, 200 W. Eighth Street, Austin, Texas. The party will feature many … Continue Reading

Site Problems with Posting Comments and Email Notification of New Posts

The hosting site for this blog is experiencing problems caused by a massive amount of comment spam generated by ‘spambots’ automatically posting random junk comments to their network. The hosting site has temporarily disabled comments on the blog while fixing the issue. They have also had to temporarily disable the email notifications that are sent out … Continue Reading

Alex Sink Reception on Monday

It is hard to imagine that I have insurance defense counsel friends going to a fundraiser for Alex Sink at an insurance company and then coming to my home next Monday for a fundraising reception we are hosting for her. Alex Sink has respect from many or she would not have that type of divergent support … Continue Reading

Merlin Law Group Has a New Website

I appreciate the kind comments and suggestions many readers express regarding the educational nature of this Blog. Our new law firm website also has many reference materials and some funny news videos of yours truly trying to comment on a variety of legal issues. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding our new website, … Continue Reading


My collegues and I coined a new term in 2004, following Hurricane Ivan. We became co-counsel with the prominent Pensacola firm of Levin, Papatonio, Thomas, Echner & Proctor. They brought a brilliant attorney, Bobby Loehr, out of semi-retirement to work with me on their insurance claim litigation. We referred to hurricane cases where nothing was … Continue Reading

A Work and Play Saturday

After a long day of work, I called a client at 11:38 on Saturday night to confirm the resolution of a long and hard-fought lawsuit. An attorney in our Houston office and my paralegal immediately emailed, thanking me that they could stop working around the clock to prepare the case for trial. My work day … Continue Reading

Another Hurricane Season

 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 … Continue Reading

The Good Hands Gets the Iron Fist

 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 … Continue Reading

That’s 3 Billion, with a “B”

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 … Continue Reading