Although Many Policies Exclude Sewer Line Backups from Coverage, What Is A Government Entity’s Liability Under Inverse Condemnation?

Most homeowners are surprised to learn that almost all homeowners’ policies include exclusions for damage caused by sewage water originating outside their home. For example, if your city or county’s sewer main line backs up because of tree roots or debris and the sewage water backs up into your home, the resulting damage will not be covered, or if it is, may be subject to significant limits—often covering only $5,000 or $10,000 of damage. Given the scope of cleaning required in these events, this amount will likely not cover even the costs to clean up the sewage. What’s more, some policies even exclude backups on the homeowner’s own lateral lines. Insurers may offer policy endorsements for coverage at an additional cost, but as many homeowners shop based on price alone, they may not realize they lack the coverage until it is too late. Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage Gaps—An Increasing Insurance Crisis Which Needs To Be Addressed and Stopped

Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman has written an excellent paper regarding insurance protection gaps (of which insurance gaps are a subset) involving residential structures: The Protection Gap in Homeowners Insurance: An Introduction. I recently mentioned this emerging issue in, Coverage Gaps Plague Policyholders! Merlin Law Group and AAPIA Host Webinar Explaining What Is Being Done To Fight This Problem. Continue Reading

Why Do Claims Drag On and On in The Panhandle of Florida?

Etienne Font and Chip Merlin in Puerto Rico this week handling Hurricane Michael claims after the IAUA Conference

Insurance is an important product. It is hard for all insurers to get clams handling right after a major disaster and claims accuracy is much less certain. That is what is taught and that is a fact. I could explain that problem and give a pass to the insurance industry and even try to help educate my policyholder friends through this understandable delay and inaccuracy which is almost inevitable. Continue Reading

Can an Insurer’s Pre-Sale Representations to a Prospective Insured Prevent Denial of Insurance Benefits After Loss?

Consumers are bombarded by insurance company advertisements loaded with puffery and bloated promises. While celebrity hucksters, jovial lizards with heavy accents, and emu sleuths might be amusing on TV, real world policyholders are left to discern fact from fiction when it comes to promotional statements in insurance company quotes. Continue Reading

Policyholders—-What Are the Four Questions Every Insurance Adjuster Should Be Asked and Then Required To Answer?

Jeff Raizner, Steve Badger and Chip Merlin at IAUA San Antonio Conference

Speaking at the IAUA Conference in San Antonio yesterday, I suggested that every insurance company should be demanding from their field adjusters and claims managers that they deal with their customers who ask these four questions: Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael Victims Should Not Be Forgotten-The “Blue Tarps” Documentary Makes A Case for Florida’s Panhandle

Journalist Jennie McKeon

Reporter Jennie McKeon wrote an article (‘Blue Tarps’ Doc Shows The Aftermath of Hurricane Michael) about two filmmakers, Carrie Hunter and Austin Hermann, who recently released a significant documentary about Florida’s Panhandle following Hurricane Michael. I was struck by one quote from Carrie Hunter:

Literally every person we talked to said they felt forgotten . . . . This was one of the most powerful storms to hit and it hit some of the poorest and rural parts of Florida. Help and safety nets are not reaching everyone.

Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael and Irma Policyholders with Outstanding Claims Should Help Florida’s Insurance Commissioner Explaining The Mystery of Their Open Claims

Florida’s Insurance commissioner made the news a little over a week ago when his testimony, which you can watch above, indicated some bewilderment about why so many claims are still open a year after Hurricane Michael struck Florida’s Panhandle. Over 18,000 claims are reported as open. Continue Reading

Is It the Beginning of the End for Forced Arbitration Clauses? Let’s Hope

In an historic win for American consumers and workers, on September 20, 2019, the U. S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1423, the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal or FAIR Act,1 by a vote of 225 to 186. This groundbreaking bill could be the beginning of the demise of the remedy-stripping, rights-stomping, forced arbitration clauses in contracts of adhesion. Arbitration is often referred to an alternative dispute resolution—meaning an alternative to the litigation of a dispute. Continue Reading

LexBlog