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Chip Merlin's Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog

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THE POLICYHOLDER'S ADVOCATE®
Updated: 2 days 2 hours ago

Hidden Damage from Wildfire Claims

Thu, 2019-04-04 00:15
Losses from wildfires across the United States over the past decade have added up to $5.1 billion.1 In addition to damage typically expected from fires (smoke, soot, ash, water from fire-fighting hoses and extinguisher chemicals), some homeowners may face the additional risk of damage caused by suppression efforts, specifically aviation-based firefighting. Since 2006, CAL FIRE’s...… Continue Reading

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How to File a Complaint with the Alabama Department of Insurance About Your Delaying, Denying, and Bad Treating Insurance Company

Wed, 2019-04-03 00:51
Alabama policyholders can seek assistance with their insurance claims through the Alabama Department of Insurance website found here. When a policyholder feels they have hit a wall working with the adjuster(s) assigned to their insurance claim, Alabama provides an Online Consumer Complaint Form that can be submitted to the Department of Insurance. The Online Consumer...… Continue Reading

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After an Appraisal Award is Signed, Can One Side Unilaterally Change It?

Tue, 2019-04-02 00:15
With appraisal becoming more popular in first-party insurance cases, I often get asked: When is the appraisal completed? As most answers for a first party insurance case – it depends on the policy. Recently a Federal District Court in Florida was asked to determine which of two apprasial awards was final and enforceable.1 The insureds...… Continue Reading

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Understanding Commercial and Residential Ordinance and Law Coverage as Explained by Christopher Boggs

Mon, 2019-04-01 00:15
Ordinance and Law Coverage generates a lot of questions whenever I give a speech about the numerous building codes which impact construction. Christopher Boggs is a great insurance educator. Two chapters from his book, Wow! I Never Knew That!: 12 of the Most Misunderstood and Misused P&C Insurance Coverages, Concepts and Exclusions, provide some of the...… Continue Reading

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When Can You Ask for Reformation?

Sun, 2019-03-31 00:15
Everyone in the insurance industry has heard the term reformation, but it is often misunderstood. In California (and elsewhere), the legal right to reformation originated over a century ago when we still had separate courts of “law” and “equity.” Reformation was a creature of the latter, designed to prevent one party from using a mistake...… Continue Reading

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Why Do Insurance Companies Make Fun of Their Customers’ Suffering and Disasters?

Sat, 2019-03-30 00:15
Insurance educator Bill Wilson has now written two articles challenging the insurance industry about why it makes fun of its customers’ suffering and disasters. In What’s So Funny? and, Again I Ask, What’s So Funny? Wilson challenges his industry: Our industry exists to assist individuals, families, and organizations in identifying and insuring their loss exposures...… Continue Reading

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Federal and State Court Split on Procedure for Alleging Bad Faith

Fri, 2019-03-29 00:15
Minnesota Statute section 604.18, commonly known as Minnesota’s Bad Faith Law, permits an insured to add a claim to recover taxable costs based on an insurance company’s bad faith denial of policy benefits. The procedure for bringing a claim under section 604.18 differs from most states. Generally, an insured is strictly prohibited from including a...… Continue Reading

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How the Insurance Company May Respond to Your Property Insurance Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court: Understanding Insurance Litigation in Federal Court

Thu, 2019-03-28 00:15
As a former federal law clerk, the purpose of this blog series is to help educate policyholders about what they may face with insurance litigation in federal court. Today, I explain just a few ways an insurer might treat an insured’s complaint in federal court. A complaint is a formal document that alleges how the...… Continue Reading

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A Safe Workplace: What Property Insurance Adjusters Must Include In An Estimate

Wed, 2019-03-27 00:15
Insurance company adjusters and estimators should ensure that they are including costs for a safe workplace when making construction estimates. Since failing to do so would constitute breaking federal law, it is per se bad faith if those costs are not included because all of us are expected to follow federal law.1 My recent blog...… Continue Reading

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Applying Depreciation in California – Understanding the Guidelines

Tue, 2019-03-26 00:15
The California Insurance Code mandates if a property insurance policy requires actual cash value payment, the payment must be based on the property’s depreciation for two types of claims: (1) a partial loss to a structure, i.e., a home or building and (2) damaged contents, i.e., personal property or business personal property.1 Fortunately, there is...… Continue Reading

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