Homeowner's Insurance

News & Analysis as of

Not-So-Sudden Impact: Insurers Face A New Breed Of Claim Under the Fair Housing Act (Part 1 of 3)

Late in June, in Texas Dept. of Housing v. Inclusive Communities, No. 13–1371 (U.S. June 25, 2015), the U.S. Supreme Court ended years of debate by embracing a “disparate impact” claim against a housing authority under the...more

Kansas Court Sanctions Depreciation of Labor to Determine Actual Cash Value

Two of our previous posts reported that Arkansas and Kentucky courts have now barred insurers from depreciating labor—as opposed to materials—when arriving at actual cash value (ACV). Last Wednesday in Graves v. American...more

Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds Primary Insurer’s Excess “Other Insurance” Clause Does Not Avoid Duty To Defend

In Preferred Mutual Insurance Company v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company, 87 Mass App Ct. 510 (June 17, 2015), the Massachusetts Appeals Court discussed several interesting insurance coverage issues when it addressed a...more

Insurance Recovery Law - July 2015 #2

California Court: Rejected Demand Within Policy Limits Not Necessary for Bad Faith Claim - Why it matters: Insurers must proceed with caution when they become aware that a settlement within policy limits is possible,...more

Massachusetts Appeals Court Adopts Two-Prong Continuity and Profit Motive Test to Determine Whether Business Pursuits Exclusion...

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has provided some much needed guidance on the “business pursuits exclusion” in a recent coverage dispute between a homeowners’ insurer and a commercial liability insurer. In Preferred Mutual...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Property Damage Directly Caused By Fire

In Stankova v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Company, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 8935 (9th Cir. May 29, 2015), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, applying Arizona law, had the opportunity to address the concept of...more

California Court Considers Intentional Acts Exclusion in Homeowners Policy

In Albert v. Mid-Century Insurance Company, 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 431 (April 28, 2015, status changed from published to unpublished May 20, 2015), the California Court of Appeal had occasion to consider whether the...more

Pennsylvania Joins Oklahoma, Bans Homeowners Insurers From Attributing Earthquakes to Fracking

Last month we reported that the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner had issued a bulletin cautioning earthquake insurers against denying claims on the basis that the quake was attributable to a man-made cause, which is to say oil...more

Court Holds That Trimming of Neighbor’s Trees is Not an Insured Accident or Occurrence

In Albert v. Mid-Century Insurance Co. (No. B257792, filed 4/28/15, ord. pub. 5/20/15), a California Court of Appeal held that an insured’s trimming of a neighbor’s trees which allegedly damaged the trees was not an accident...more

Striking Down Regulation On Replacement Cost Estimates, A California Court Heads Off Policyholder Litigation

Last week, in Association of California Ins. Cos. v. Jones, B238622 (Cal. Ct. App. Apr. 8, 2015), a California appellate court affirmed a decision that invalidated a regulation governing estimates of replacement costs made by...more

Wake up Call for Regulators and Insurers

On April 8, after a careful statutory analysis, the California Second Appellate Division held that the California Insurance Commissioner exceeded his authority in promulgating a regulation that defined a new act as an unfair...more

A New Twist in the California Debate Over Allegedly Inadequate Replacement Cost Limits in Homeowners’ Policies

The April 8, 2015 decision of the California Court of Appeals in Ass’n. of Cal. Insurance Companies v. Jones, 2015 WL 1569669, 2015 Cal. App. LEXIS 298 (Cal.Ct.App., Apr. 8, 2015) held that the state’s Insurance Commissioner...more

California Insurance Commissioner Lacks Authority to Regulate Formula for Estimating Replacement Cost Value

In Assn. of Cal. Insurance Companies v. Jones ( No. B248622, filed 4/8/15), a California appeals court held that California’s Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones lacked the authority to promulgate California Code of...more

The Eleventh Circuit Holds that for Sinkhole Losses, Structural Damage ? Any Damage to a Structure

The land in Florida is prone to sinking and insurance companies must often scramble for solid footing on which to anchor the scope of coverage for sinkhole losses. In Hegel v. First Liberty Insurance Corporation (11th Cir....more

Eleventh Circuit: Sinkhole Loss in Florida Must Impair the Property’s Structural Integrity to be Covered

Effective in 2005, Florida statutes defined “sinkhole loss” to mean “structural damage to the building, including the foundation, caused by sinkhole activity,” and they left the all-important term “structural damage”...more

Bad Faith Sentinel - March 2015

In This Issue: - District of Colorado Sinks Insurer’s Motion for Summary Judgment on Bad Faith Claim Where Insurer Allegedly Failed To Timely Investigate Available Coverage for Boating Accident - Eastern...more

Labor Depreciation Class Actions Heating Up Across The Country

Class action litigation is spreading across the country involving the application of depreciation in calculating the actual cash value of property damage under homeowners and commercial property insurance policies. This blog...more

Construction Case Law Update - March 2015 #2

Sinkholes; “Structural Damage” – When undefined in a homeowner’s insurance policy, “structural damage” caused by a sinkhole is best defined as “damage that impairs the structural integrity of the building.” Homeowners argued...more

Insurance Payout Goes Up In Smoke: Sixth Circuit Finds Manufacturing Marijuana Changes Use Of A Residence.

In Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. McDermott, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 3012 (6th Cir. Feb. 24, 2015), a homeowner’s claim for a total fire loss was denied based on the policy’s “change of use” endorsement. On January 13,...more

Court Finds Potential for Personal Umbrella Coverage of Sexual Assault Not Covered by Underlying Homeowners Policy

In Gonzalez v. Fire Insurance Exchange (No. H039368, filed 2/5/15), a California appeals court ruled that a personal umbrella policy's broader coverage gave rise to a duty to defend sexual molestation allegations that were...more

Sixth Circuit: Growing Marijuana is Not the Same as Buying a Houseplant or Entertaining Visitors

Half of the states in this country have now legalized marijuana for medical use, and that has led to a number of small-scale growing operations in policyholders’ homes.  While not nearly as dangerous as cooking meth on the...more

Florida’s Fifth District Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer, Finding that “Vandalism” and “Malicious Mischief” include “Arson”

In Botee v. Southern Fid. Ins. Co., 2015 Fla. App. LEXIS 1566 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 5th Dist. Feb. 6, 2015), the Fifth District affirmed an Orange County trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Botee...more

District Court Strikes Homeowners Policyholders’ Class Action Allegations

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio granted defendant State Auto’s motion to strike plaintiffs’ class allegations, holding that the complaint itself demonstrated that the proposed class was not...more

Southern District of Ohio Strikes Policyholders Class From Suit Against State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company

In Schumacher v. State Auto. Mut. Ins. Co., No. 13-cv-00232, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11857 (S.D. Ohio Feb. 2, 2015), the Southern District of Ohio struck class allegations from a putative class action alleging breach of the...more

Florida Insurance Law: 2014 Year in Review

This past year brought a number of important insurance decisions in Florida, some favorable to insurers and others that reaffirm the challenges for insurers litigating in Florida. For example, after a broad statutory...more

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