Last week on the Property Insurance Law Blog, I discussed a Florida statute that often requires insurance companies to repair undamaged parts of a property in addition to the damaged parts of the property. As discussed, Florida and federal courts have held that Florida Statute § 626.9744 only applies to homeowners’ policies, and not condominium association policies that are considered “commercial residential” policies. See Ocean View Towers Ass’n, Inc. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 11-60447-CIV, 2011 WL 6754063, *9 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 22, 2011). Despite the statute not covering commercial properties, a commercial residential policy may require an insurance company to repair undamaged property as well.Continue Reading Condominium Entitled to Matching Components Rather than Patchwork Repairs

Last week on the Property Insurance Law Blog, I wrote about a condominium association that sued its insurance company for failing to discover all Hurricane Wilma damage. The association discovered additional damage several years after the storm, and rather than file a supplemental claim for damage, the association filed suit. The insurance company claimed that the association needed to notify it of the newly found damage and submit to a secondary investigation before it could recover benefits. Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, disagreed, finding that the insurance policy did not require a supplemental claim.Continue Reading Insurance Company Can Only Blame Itself For Ruling on Supplemental Claims

When condominium associations suffer millions of dollars worth of catastrophic damage from a natural disaster, most associations will need to rely on insurance proceeds to start and complete repairs. Indeed, that is why they purchased insurance in the first place. Unfortunately for condominium associations in Florida without millions of dollars in reserves, recent legal opinions may not help when it comes time to make those repairs.Continue Reading Florida Court Limits Condo Association’s Claim to Actual Cash Value Since It Had Not Completed Repairs

A few years back, several journalists began reporting about a new trend in product packaging: offering less product for the same price. One of these journalists, Michael Brush, dubbed PepsiCo’s subtle repackaging as, “The incredible shrinking Doritos bag.” Most companies cited rising costs as the reason for reducing sizes, but when the result ends up being higher profits and larger market share, those motives could rightfully be challenged. According to Brush and Harvard Business School Professor John Gourville, this strategy works because consumers don’t react to a change in quantity like they do to a change in price. Unfortunately for insurance consumers, this trend is finding its way into the insurance industry.Continue Reading The Incredible Shrinking Insurance Policy

Is a condominium association responsible to repair casualty loss damage to the interior of individual condominium units? Generally the answer is no, but why not? After all, some state statutes like the Maryland Condominium Act require that the association repair or replace, “any portion of the condominium damaged or destroyed.” In the case of Anderson v. Council of Unit Owners of Gables on Tuckerman Condo., 948 A. 2d 11 (Md. App. 2008), the court took the opportunity to explain why not.Continue Reading It’s All About the Property Interest, or Why Associations Aren’t Normally Responsible for Damage to Individual Condominium Units

When asked if something is ripe, one might immediately think of fruit that is ready to eat. Similarly, the legal term “ripeness” means the readiness of a case for litigation. While a simple smell test may be all that is needed for fruit, the ripeness of a legal case, an insurance claim, and a legal case about an insurance claim, require a little more analysis.Continue Reading When is an Insurance Claim Ready for Litigation?

Halloween usually brings two things for sure: trick-or-treaters and Halloween parties. As a member of a condominium or homeowner’s association, you can almost be certain that either your association or one or more of your neighbors will be hosting a Halloween party. If you or someone you know is planning a party, try to make sure that the party doesn’t go so far as to violate any of the association’s rules, as one California homeowner’s party did in Jones Ranch Homeowners Ass’n v. Degnan, A118584, 2008 WL 5049757 (Cal. Ct. App., Nov. 25, 2008, A118584).Continue Reading Keeping Halloween Parties within Association Rules

When a condominium association needs money for an association expense such as property repairs, the association can generally divide the cost among association members and charge a proportionate amount to each member through special assessments. Many condominium unit owner policies provide coverage for some of these assessments. In fact, Florida Statute § 627.714 (2011) requires that residential condominium unit owner insurance policies include at least $2,000 of property loss assessment coverage that kicks in when an association assesses members for property damage.Continue Reading Loss Assessment Coverage and the “Master Deductible” Clause