The fun and games that insurers put us and their policyholders through to not pay claims never ceases and gets more creative all the time. Attorney Ashley Harris told me that one of our condominium clients from Superstorm Sandy had a request from its insurer that the wind damaged roofs needed an inspection at 3:30 a.m. We agreed with the request but what happened was unusual—even more unusual than a 3:30 a.m. inspection.
It seems that every few years the appraisal process becomes a hot topic across the country. While there are a number of disputes that can arise, the scope of what is determined in the appraisal process is often at the forefront of the argument.
Insurance litigation can take on a life of its own. While pointed exchanges between attorneys is not altogether uncommon, judges typically stay above the fray, even when they believe a claim or defense has little chance of prevailing. This is not always the case, however, as noted in a recent appellate court ruling.1
As with most important rulings, a recent appellate court decision in favor of a Florida condominium association has been making the rounds through the national insurance news. In Slow, Late, and Delayed Replacement or Repair – – A Case That Helps Policyholders, Chip Merlin wrote about a recent Florida appellate decision in Axis Surplus Insurance Company v. Caribbean Beach Club Association.1 While the trial court rulings in favor of the association were upheld on multiple grounds, the appellate court wrote to highlight why the insurance carrier waived certain time limitation provisions in the policy.
Roofing contractors and adjusters have been at the center of an ongoing debate in Texas. As I noted in Texas Moves to Limit the Role of Roofing Contractors, Texas enacted H.B. 1183, prohibiting insurance adjusters from doubling up as roofing contractors and preventing roofing contractors from acting as adjusters, or advertising to act as an adjuster, on any property they perform work.
Since the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in State Farm v. Curran, practitioners and courts alike have been trying to sort out exactly how far the opinion goes. While many argue that Curran only applies to independent medical examinations, others point out that the Fifth District Court of Appeal specifically certified conflict with an earlier decision dealing with the application of the Examination Under Oath provision.
Nothing is more familiar to individuals living in condominium and homeowner associations than the laundry list of rules and regulations that have been adopted. As a friend of mine can attest, even putting a rope swing in your yard can result in a hefty fine. So what happens when your association rules require you to do certain things in reconstructing after a loss? Does your policy cover these expenses?
The past few weeks have seen the end of the first phase of important litigation that has been raging on since shortly after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in southern Mississippi. While the full details of the story would take many volumes to adequately address, the litigation arose over two State Farm whistleblowers, Cori and Kerri Rigsby, who brought to light what they believed to be the insurer’s attempt to systematically defraud policyholders. According to the sisters, State Farm and its managers directed claim investigators and engineers to find that damages were caused by flood, thus limiting any potential payments under the State Farm wind policies.
It is with great pleasure that Merlin Law Group announces the launch of its disability, life, health, and long-term healthcare insurance website: http://www.PayMyInsuranceClaims.com/
(*Chip Merlin’s Note: This guest blog is by John Nixon, President and founder of Asperta, Ltd., an independent consulting firm focused on improving the quality of property insurance decisions by policy holders, agents, brokers, underwriters, reinsurers and investors.)
If you follow the insurance press, you’ve probably seen articles describing the favorable results of year-end treaty reinsurance renewals and consequential expectations of reduced pricing and improved terms for account renewals in 2014. The good news for condominium association boards is that it shouldn’t be difficult for most accounts to get improved property renewal terms.