News & Analysis as of

In Iowa, Rain is What Gene Kelly Sang In – Not Water From a Burst Drain Pipe

Earlier this year, an Iowa court recognized that rain becomes rainwater once it has fallen, and it held that policy language excluding loss caused by “rain” – without more – will not operate to bar coverage for water from a...more

Sixth Circuit Holds That Market Crash Cannot Be Considered in Determining ACV

In Whitehouse Condo. Group, LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11708 (6th Cir. June 17, 2014), the insured condominium building located in Flint, Michigan was destroyed by a fire. The parties disagreed over the...more

Insurers Say “Over My Dead Body” to Claims for Damage From Decomposition

Last April saw decisions handed down in Pennsylvania and Florida that addressed the ghoulish question of whether first-party policies cover property damage from a decomposing body, and the courts in both jurisdictions held...more

Texas Federal Court Upholds Summary Judgment In Favor Of Insurer On Hail Damage Claim

Hamilton Props. v. Am. Ins. Co., No.: 12-cv-5046-B, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91882 (N.D. Tex. July 7, 2014) was an insurance dispute over coverage for hail damage to the roof of the insured’s commercial property. The insured,...more

Western District of Texas: An Expert Must Base a Determination of Bad Faith on the Facts Available to the Insurer When it Acted

Falcon v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 1:12-CV-491-DAE, 2014 WL 2711849 (W.D. Tex. June 16, 2014) - The Western District of Texas finds that a policyholder’s expert witness is not qualified to opine when he does not...more

Why Texas Insurers Need To Report Fraudulent Hail Claims

In Amarillo, Texas, with clipboard, camera and marking chalk in hand, a seasoned insurance company adjuster climbs his ladder onto the roof of an apartment building. He’s looking for hail damage following a recent hailstorm...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Case Law Update

Neutral Evaluation/Sinkhole Litigation: trial court erred in sustaining objection to insurer’s notice of stay to invoke neutral evaluation process in lawsuit for breach of contract and damages for sinkhole losses to property...more

Tenth Circuit (Applying Colorado Law) Upholds Summary Judgment In Favor Of Insurer On Earth Movement And Water Damage Exclusions

Wagner v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., No.: 13-1438, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 11526 (10th Cir. June 19, 2014) arose from a claim by a property owner under a homeowner’s insurance policy issued to her by American Family Mutual...more

California Court: An Insurance Claim for Feng Shui Is Not Harmonious Qi

Feng shui is a Chinese philosophical system that supposedly orients buildings and their contents in an auspicious manner. Last month in Patel v. American Economy Ins. Co., — F.Supp.2d —, 2014 WL 1862211 (N.D. Cal., May 8,...more

Primer On Underwriting Insurance Risks In Argentina

Latin America presents excellent opportunities for the global (re)insurance industry. But, there are a number of important considerations for insurance and reinsurance companies underwriting risks in the region. This article...more

West Virginia Federal Court Denies Summary Judgment To Insurer On Hail And Water Damage Claim

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, in FA Mgmt. v. Great Am. Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75912, 2 (N.D. W. Va. June 4, 2014), was presented with an insurer’s motion for summary judgment...more

Appellate Court Notes

AC35802 - Estate of Haburey v. Winchester - Widow was allowed to claim spousal benefits for deceased employee who worked at municipal sewage treatment facility. Commissioner could have properly found that exposure to...more

Eastern District of New York Dismisses Bad Faith Claims in Dispute Over Property Damage Caused by Hurricane Sandy

433 Main St. Realty, LLC v. Darwin Nat’l Assurance Co., No. 14-cv-587 (NGG) (VMS) (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 22, 2014) - Eastern District of New York dismisses claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and...more

Estimates vs. Bids: Determining Insurer Obligation

The typical property insurance claim begins with notification of a loss from the insured or its broker. Thereafter, the carrier sends out an adjuster to investigate the loss and determine whether, and to what extent, coverage...more

Texas Court Addresses Vacancy Clause In Commercial Property Policy

On April 29, 2014, the Texas Court of Appeals in ACGS Marine Ins. Co. v. Spring Ctr., Inc., 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 4581 (Tex. Ct. App. Houston 2014) issued a decision examining a Vacancy Clause in a commercial property policy. ...more

Superstorm Sandy and Con Edison’s Power Shutdown: Lessons from Johnson Gallagher

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, property insurers have repeatedly denied coverage for business owners in lower Manhattan – arguing that ConEd intentionally cut off power to its networks and that flooding damaged ConEd’s...more

Indiana Changes Course on Application of Intentional Acts Exclusion in Homeowners Policies

In Deeter v. Ind. Farmers Mut. Ins. Co., 999 N.E.2d 82 (Ind. App. 2013), the Indiana appellate court denied property damage proceeds to a husband when his wife admitted to intentionally causing the fire that burned down their...more

A Whole Lotta Shaking Going On In Central US

When underwriters evaluate potential causes of loss in the central United States, perils such as tornados and high winds, hail, and fire are generally identified as the primary risks of loss. But earthquakes? That is not a...more

Shamrock Shake: St. Patrick’s Day Earthquake in Los Angeles Is a Reminder to Check Your Property Insurance Policy

Los Angeles residents didn’t need to go to McDonald’s for their “Shamrock Shake” on St. Patrick’s Day 2014. At 6:25 a.m., a 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook L.A. County out of bed. Monday’s shake serves as a reminder to be...more

How to Maximize Your Insurance Recovery for Property Damage, Business Interruption, and Supply Chain Losses After “Historic”...

Last week businesses and communities throughout the United States experienced the fifth in a series of major winter storms since the beginning of 2014. Four separate stretches of winter weather affected the United States in...more

The Fuss Over Fracking: An Examination of the Insurance Issues Associated with Hydro-Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a drilling process used to extract underground oil or natural gas trapped in hard to reach shale rock formations deep in the earth. The process involves well...more

Scope Of Appraisal Continues To Be Problematic In Texas

Despite the statement by the Texas Supreme Court in State Farm Lloyds v. Johnson that the scant precedent involving disputes about the scope of appraisal suggests that appraisals generally resolve such disputes,” both...more

New York Court of Appeals: Vandalism Coverage under “Named Peril” Property Policy Can Apply Even When Malicious Act Is Not...

In a case with broad implications for property owners near construction sites (Georgitsi Realty, LLC v. Penn-Star Insurance Company, No. 156, October 17, 2013), the New York Court of Appeals has opened the door to broad...more

Texas Hurricane Season: Statutory Requirements for Handling Claims

For Texans, the prime hurricane season from August to September is now over. Although there were no big storms this year, claims handlers still need to be attentive to timely adjusting their first party claims. The Texas...more

A Few Thoughts After “Frankenstorm”

The major impact that Hurricane Sandy had on the East Coast is a good reminder of the importance of the maintenance of sufficient insurance. All condominium projects in Texas (whether they operate under the current Uniform...more

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