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Chip Merlin's Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog

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THE POLICYHOLDER'S ADVOCATE®
Updated: 4 days 5 hours ago

Life Mimics Art or Is It the Other Way Around? Insurable Interest and Risk of Loss Are Always Part of Insurance Coverage

Fri, 2019-07-12 00:15
Recently, my fiancé and I watched the Season 3 premier of Divorce on HBO. It’s sort of a guilty pleasure. I admit, at first, I was hesitant when my fiancé recommended I watch. But, one episode in and I was hooked. It’s funny, witty, snarky, and overall relatable for many people. If you haven’t watched...… Continue Reading

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Feeling the Heat: Do California’s Health and Safety Regulations Increase the Value of Your Insurance Claim?

Thu, 2019-07-11 00:15
California summers can get hot. To protect workers, the state requires employers to take extensive precautions. California’s regulations on heat safety are promulgated by the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Occupational Safety, which is often referred to as Cal/OSHA. Cal/OSHA summarizes these requirements as follows: Plan – Develop and implement an effective written heat...… Continue Reading

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Overcoming Insurer Delay, Deny, Defend Tactics – A South Jersey Success Story

Wed, 2019-07-10 00:15
Back on March 29, 2019, every attorney in the Merlin Law Group Red Bank office attended the “Protection Gap in Property Insurance” seminar that was hosted by Professor Jay M. Feinman and held at Rutgers law school. This was the first time that I had observed Mr. Feinman speak on issues pertaining to insurance and...… Continue Reading

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Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act

Tue, 2019-07-09 00:15
Every state has laws that prohibit unfair, discriminatory, or deceptive insurance practices. These regulations are normally encompassed as statutes or regulations enacted to protect insurance consumers. Pennsylvania has a statute enacted called the “Unfair Insurance Practices Act,”1 This law gives the consumer the right to file complaints against their insurance company to be investigated by...… Continue Reading

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Florida’s AOB Reform Bill Became Effective July 1, 2019: How Does This Affect Me?

Mon, 2019-07-08 00:18
My primary role as an attorney at Merlin Law Group is to represent the best interests of policyholders and get all benefits owed following a loss. But, I call it like I see it when approached with debatable inquiries from contractors and restoration companies. Assignment of Benefits (“AOB”) is a controversial issue, which has been...… Continue Reading

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Some Thoughts on Appealing an Adverse Ruling from a Magistrate Judge

Sun, 2019-07-07 00:15
Adverse rulings are always possible in federal litigation. This post explores how insureds can respond to adverse rulings issued by federal magistrate judges during pretrial litigation. Congressional statute assigns magistrate judges broad authority to issue pretrial orders and opinions. In first-party property cases, magistrate judges often issue (1) orders on discovery issues and (2) reports...… Continue Reading

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Appraisal and the Impartiality of Appraisers

Sat, 2019-07-06 00:15
Recently, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Owners Ins. Co. v. Dakota Station II Condominium Association,1 on appraiser impartiality. Specifically, the court discussed the meaning and interpretation of impartiality under the insurance policy and whether a contingent-cap fee agreement between the appraiser and Dakota Station rendered the appraiser not impartial as a matter of...… Continue Reading

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Does Payment of an Appraisal Award Wipe Out Claims Handling Insurance Code Violations?

Fri, 2019-07-05 00:15
The Texas Supreme Court recently answered the question above in two cases with different results depending on what type of insurance code violations the insured is alleging. The court addressed Texas Insurance Code chapter 542 violations (often called prompt payment of claims) in Barbara Technologies Corporation v. State Farm Lloyds.1 In Barbara Technologies, the court...… Continue Reading

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Merlin Law Group Wishes You A Happy Fourth of July

Thu, 2019-07-04 00:24
Wishing you a happy and safe 4th of July!… Continue Reading

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Insurance Adjuster Makes You Scream in Frustration? Complain About Poor or Unethical Treatment From Insurance Companies

Wed, 2019-07-03 00:15
Insurance companies are supposed to have insurance adjusters that are empathetic, professional and ethical when dealing with policyholders and claimants. The first chapter in the insurance treatise, Claims Handling Principles and Practices, has multiple lessons about these obligations. Claims adjusters should not make policyholders scream out of frustration about the service you receive. The treatise...… Continue Reading

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When Does the Time Limitation Period Begin To Run For A Lawsuit Against My Homeowners Insurance Company?

Tue, 2019-07-02 00:15
In a recent decision,1 a federal court interpreting Pennsylvania law held that the discovery rule does not apply in insurance actions and the statute of limitations for an insured to bring suit against their insurance company begins to run on the date of loss and not the date the insured becomes aware of the loss....… Continue Reading

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Business Interruption: Strategies for Resolution

Mon, 2019-07-01 14:36
A business interruption claim does not always end up in litigation. There are basic techniques that an insured may consider expediting and presenting a claim that may result in a fair resolution of a business interruption claim. The Business Interruption Book: Coverage, Claims, and Recovery,1 is a great source for information on business interruption issues...… Continue Reading

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Wind Versus Water Causing Insurance Payment Delays? The Sad Song Remains The Same For Michael Victims as In Other Storms

Sun, 2019-06-30 00:15
The Tampa Bay Times ran an excellent story, Hurricane Michael Destroyed Their Homes Then The Insurance Heartache Began, which tells a sad but familiar theme about insurance company denials and delayed payments following hurricane losses. I was quoted in the piece: Chip Merlin, a Tampa insurance lawyer, said the same conflict happened in the last...… Continue Reading

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Delayed Insurance Payment? Texas Does Not Allow Insurers To Profit From Nonpayment During Appraisal

Sat, 2019-06-29 20:40
Rene Sigman of Merlin Law Group’s Houston office was getting some pretty good results for clients this week when she sent me a Texas Supreme Court appraisal case which makes delaying insurers more accountable for inaccurate or plain wrongful estimates of the benefits owed to policyholders. All this Texas good news had me thinking “Yippee-Yi-Yo-Ki-Yay!” The...… Continue Reading

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Are Suit Limitation Provisions in the Policy Enforceable . . . And is the Insurer required to Show Prejudice?

Fri, 2019-06-28 00:15
Not sure when to sue your insurer? Property insurance policies typically contain a contractual suit limitation provision that sets the time within which policyholders may file suit on the claim. Some states allow the insurer to require in the policy that the policyholder file suit in as little as one year from the date of...… Continue Reading

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Substantial Damage, Substantial Structural Damage, Wind Damage, Flood Damage…. Damage Anyway!

Thu, 2019-06-27 00:36
Hurricane Michael has left a familiar mark on the Florida Panhandle. Much like Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, Hurricane Michael brought devasting winds followed by wind and flooding and more wind. Battered homes and businesses are assessed in the aftermath in an attempt to determine the extent and cause of damage resulting from the multiple perils...… Continue Reading

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Why is the Carrier so Quick to Argue the Wear and Tear Exclusion?

Wed, 2019-06-26 00:45
Chip Merlin posted about the Wear and Tear Exclusion just last month in Wear and Tear Exclusions Versus Depreciation For Resulting Damage To Worn and Torn Older Parts of a Structure. Explaining about wear and tear, Chip gave this example: The judge made up his own example of ten old bolts giving way and then...… Continue Reading

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When Does Pre-Award Interest Begin to Run on an Appraisal Award?

Tue, 2019-06-25 00:18
I recently had a public adjuster reach out to me asking me how pre-award interest on an appraisal award was calculated. Coincidently, in Creekview of Hugo Association v. Owners Insurance Company,1 the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota recently addressed the application of pre-award or pre-judgment interest under Minnesota Law. Under Minnesota Statute...… Continue Reading

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Contractors Beware Taking AOB Contracts For Restoration Work: New Policy Forms Restricting AOB Contacts Discussed By Recent Insurance Bulletin

Mon, 2019-06-24 00:15
Assignment of benefits contracts for property damage claims may be going the way of the dinosaur in Florida. A recent Florida Insurance Bulletin notes that the new statute allows insurance companies to issue policies preventing an assignment of benefits if insurers offer a premium discount. The bulletin outlines what insurers must do: Section 2 of...… Continue Reading

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Pending California Property Insurance Legislation – A Continued Expansion of Insured’s Rights

Sun, 2019-06-23 00:15
The string of natural disasters that struck California in 2017 and 2018 resulted in new legislation expanding the rights of California policyholders. The California legislature has drafted and introduced new legislation that would continue to expand policyholders’ rights. Pending legislation is summarized below. Although the legislation is not yet law, by gaining familiarity with the...… Continue Reading

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