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California Supreme Court clarifies availability of insurance-related Unfair Competition Law (UCL) claims

The California Supreme Court recently issued a significant decision regarding the applicability of that state’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) to the insurance industry, allowing certain types of such claims to be brought against insurers, potentially expanding insurers’ extra-contractual liability in that jurisdiction. On August 1, 2013, in Zhang v. The Superior Court Of San Bernardino … Continue Reading

General Contractor Overhead and Profit Ruling Issued by Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court recently joined numerous other jurisdictions holding that general contractor overhead and profit should be included in an estimate on a property insurance claim when, based on the unique facts of the claim, it is reasonably likely that the insured will need to use a general contractor in completing the repairs. In … Continue Reading

Insurance Fraud Case: Second Circuit Addresses Adverse Inference Instruction, Restitution For Prior Payments

In insurance fraud cases involving actual or alleged destruction of evidence by the insured, an issue often arises regarding whether an adverse inference instruction is appropriate, and, if so, what form it should take. The Second Circuit recently approved a “light” form of adverse inference instruction that allowed the jury to make an adverse inference … Continue Reading

Depreciation Class Action: Arkansas Federal Court Certifies Question to Arkansas Supreme Court

In August of 2012, we reported on a newly-filed class action in Arkansas federal court alleging that, in estimates on property insurance claims, application of depreciation to labor costs is improper (see my August 7, 2012 blog post).  As an update on this case, Chief Judge P.K. Holmes, III of the Western District of Arkansas … Continue Reading

Boston Bombings: Massachusetts Commissioner of Insurance Issues Bulletin Regarding Procedures for Insurance Claims

On April 25, 2013, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (“DOI”) issued a bulletin offering “guidance and recommendations” regarding the handling of insurance claims, premium payments, and underwriting of coverage related to the April 15, 2013 bombings in Boston. Of note, the DOI indicates that insurers are required to promptly investigate all claims, and “encourages” insurers … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance Unveils Mandatory Mediation Program for Sandy Claims

New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance Unveils Mandatory Mediation Program for Sandy Claims On March 26, 2013, New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance (“Department”) issued a significant new Hurricane Sandy-related order that will affect nearly all insurers doing business in the State of New Jersey.  Order No. A13-106 (“Mediation Order”) requires insurers to participate … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles, A Class Action Fairness Act Case

Two days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in The Standard Fire Insurance Company v. Knowles, No. 11-1450 (slip opinion), which involves the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA). In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Breyer, the Court overturned the district court’s decision remanding a putative class action to state court. … Continue Reading

Update Regarding New York’s Mediation Amendment

The New York Department of Financial Services has appointed the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) in New York as the exclusive “designated organization” to handle Storm Sandy mediations pursuant to the Mediation Amendment. The AAA contact information to be inserted into notice letters sent to insureds pursuant to the Mediation Amendment is as follows: American Arbitration … Continue Reading

Mandatory Mediation Program for Hurricane Sandy Losses: New York Department of Financial Services Adopts New Amendment to Regulation 64

On February 25, 2013, the New York Department of Financial Services promulgated a significant new Hurricane Sandy-related regulation that will impact nearly all insurers doing business in the State of New York. Specifically, the Department adopted the Fifteenth Amendment (entitled “Mediation) to New York’s Regulation 64 (“Mediation Amendment”). The Fifteenth Amendment was adopted as an … Continue Reading

Missouri Valued Policy Law Inapplicable to Tornado Losses: Missouri Federal Court Issues Decision of First Impression

Some jurisdictions have what is known as a valued policy law (“VPL”), which typically provides that in the case of a total loss, the insurer is required to pay the full policy limit regardless of the actual replacement cost value or actual cash value of the property at the time to the loss. Most of … Continue Reading

Storm Sandy: Delaware Requires Insurers to Submit Claim Reporting Form

On December 10, 2012, the Delaware Department of Insurance issued Bulletin No. 59, which requires all admitted, non-admitted and surplus lines carriers, including flood insurance carriers, to submit a claim reporting form on a periodic basis. The first report is due December 18, 2012 for the reporting period of October 26, 2012 through December 4, … Continue Reading

Insurers Issuing Residential Policies in Delaware Must Include Specific Notice Provision Regarding Hurricane Deductible as of January 1, 2013

On December 7, 2012, the Delaware Department of Insurance issued Bulletin No. 58 reminding insurers writing residential policies incepting or renewing on or after January 1, 2013 that policies must include a prominent and specific notice regarding applicable hurricane deductibles. The Bulletin indicates that in the wake of Hurricane Irene and storm Sandy, many Delaware … Continue Reading

Storm Sandy: New York Requires Accelerated Claims Investigation, and Allows for Temporary Public Adjuster Licensing

On November 29, 2012, the Superintendent of New York State’s Department of Financial Services issued a Twelfth Amendment to Insurance Regulation 64, which amends Section 216.5(a). Most significantly, investigations of Storm Sandy claims require that the insurer commence investigation of specified claims within 6 days instead of 15, and that if an inspection is to … Continue Reading

Rhode Island Issues Bulletin Requiring Insurers to Provide Regular Summary Reports of Sandy Claims, in Addition to Temporarily Suspending Vacancy Provisions

On November 5, 2012, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, Insurance Division (“Department”) issued Insurance Bulletin 2012-4, which can be viewed in the list of bulletins here. The Bulletin provides that Property and Casualty insurers in Rhode Island must fill out a CAT Summary form, which tracks the number of Sandy claims received by … Continue Reading

No Hurricane Deductible in New Jersey for Damages Due to Hurricane Sandy Per Order from Governor Christie

In one of our November 1, 2012 blog posts, we indicated that news reports were advising that New Jersey would not permit the application of hurricane deductibles to insurance claims due to Sandy. Governor Christie has since issued an undated Executive Order 107, which provides the following in relevant part: it “shall be a violation … Continue Reading

New York Modifies Inspection Requirements for Hurricane Sandy Claims Under Homeowner Policies, and Imposes Liability Under Unfair Claims Settlement Practice Law for Failure to Abide

On November 5, 2012, the New York Department of Financial Services issued an Insurance Circular Letter No. 8 (“Circular”), which provides that it would be dangerous to public health and against public policy for insurers to enforce provisions of their policies that operate to bar insureds from disposing of damaged property before the insurer has … Continue Reading

New York Department of Financial Services Issues Amended Order Regarding Moratorium on Cancellation and Renewal of Insurance Policies for “Designated Counties”

On November 5, 2012 (effective October 26, 2012), the New York Department of Financial Services issued an Amended Order Regarding Suspension of Certain Insurance and Banking Law Provisions for New York, Bronx, Kings, Richmond, Queens, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties (“Designated Counties”), which provides the following, in relevant part: A moratorium for thirty … Continue Reading

Hurricane Deductible Inapplicable in Delaware for Damages Due to Sandy

Following Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island’s leads, on November 2, 2012, the Delaware Department of Insurance issued a bulletin advising that the hurricane deductible will not apply to losses in Delaware due to Sandy. In a prior post we advised that New York and New Jersey are also reportedly advising that the hurricane deductible should … Continue Reading

Insurance Departments of Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island Issue Bulletins Regarding Hurricane Deductibles Related to Sandy

Connecticut, Maryland, and Rhode Island Insurance Departments have issued bulletins regarding hurricane deductibles with respect to insurance claims due to Sandy: Connecticut On October 30, 2012, the State of Connecticut Insurance Department issued the following Notice: Please be advised based on information received from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the National Weather Service (NWS) … Continue Reading

State Insurance Departments Issue Bulletins Regarding Claims Handling Related to Hurricane Sandy

Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, and Rhode Island Insurance Departments have issued several bulletins regarding general claims handling for Hurricane Sandy. Links to the bulletins are provided here: Connecticut http://www.ct.gov/cid/lib/cid/Bulletin_IC-28_Storm_Sandy_October_2012.pdf http://www.ct.gov/cid/lib/cid/Bulletin_IC-30_Storm_Sandy_October_2012.pdf http://www.ct.gov/cid/lib/cid/Bulletin_IC-32_Storm_Sandy_October_2012.pdf Delaware http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/departments/documents/bulletins/DomesticForeignInsurersBulletin56.pdf New Jersey http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/bulletins/blt12_12.pdf Rhode Island http://www.dbr.ri.gov/documents/divisions/insurance/consumers/IndustryAlert2012-3.pdf We will continue to monitor affected states’ insurance department websites for further bulletins regarding Hurricane Sandy.… Continue Reading

Florida Federal Court Declines to Retroactively Apply 2011 Amendment to Sinkhole Insurance Statute

As state legislatures enact statutory amendments, courts are frequently tasked with deciding whether those amendments are to be applied retroactively. In one such case, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida was tasked with deciding whether a 2011 amendment to Florida’s sinkhole insurance statute, Fla. Stat. §627.706(2)(k)(2011) (hereinafter the “Statute”), should … Continue Reading
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