Monthly Archives: August 2015

Texas Court Addresses What Constitutes an “Itemized” Appraisal Decision

On Tuesday of this week, a unanimous panel of Texas’ intermediate level appellate court rejected arguments that an appraisal award that set forth lump sum replacement cost, depreciation, and actual cash value amounts for real property, personal property, and additional living expense was not sufficiently “itemized.”  In Cantu v. Southern Ins. Co., 2015 Tex. App. LEXIS 8847 (Aug. 25, 2015), it also rejected the policyholder’s contention that a court, having appointed an umpire when the two appraisers were unable to agree, was without authority to remove him and select a replacement.  The decision is not currently reported on WestLaw. The insured’s home was damaged by 2011’s massive Bastrop County Complex Fire.  After disputes arose over the amount of loss, the

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Posted in Arbitration and Appraisal, Fire, Wildfire

Hurricanes vs. Wildfires — 2015’s Dramatic Contrast

Two of this blog’s four rotating headers depict a hurricane and a fire as examples of potentially-destructive types of property damage, and the hurricane season (June through November) and the wildfire season (late spring through mid-fall) are both well under way.  This year has brought good news to the east coast with respect to the former and catastrophically bad news to the west coast with respect to the latter. There are obviously many reasons for this.  The west is undergoing a historically severe drought; the snowpack in California is currently 5% of what it should be.  The region is also suffering from extreme heat; 2015 is the second warmest year ever recorded in Alaska, and temperatures in the west as

Posted in Fire, Hurricane, Wildfire

New Jersey Judge Writes a Primer on How Not to Draft a Denial Letter

Last month, a federal trial court in New Jersey shot down an insurer’s arguments that it had unambiguously denied coverage for Superstorm Sandy damage in a letter to the insured.  In Liguori v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds, 2015WL 4402851. 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93090 (D.N.J., Jul. 17, 2015),  the judge found that correspondence announcing that the carrier was “pleased to inform you” that wind damage was covered while flood was “expressly excluded” and concluding with what he called an “open-ended statement that the letter could be amended should new information become available” simply did not pass muster as a formal denial. The insureds owned a home in Seaside Heights that was demolished by the storm on October 29, 2012, and

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Posted in Homeowners Coverage, Hurricane, Loss Adjustment, Suit Limitation, Superstorm Sandy

Eighth Circuit: Repairs May Be Compensable as Extra Expense Even if They Don’t Reduce the Business Income Loss

“Read the policy, read the policy, read the policy” is a famous piece of advice for coverage counsel everywhere.  Last Friday in Midwest Reg’l Allergy, Asthma, Arthritis & Osteoporosis Center v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 2015 WL 4590642, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 13430 (8th Cir., Jul. 31, 2015), a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeals rejected arguments that a contract of insurance required that any Extra Expense serve to reduce the otherwise payable business income loss in order to be compensable.  As interpreted by the court, the policy was written in such a fashion as to make that a prerequisite for only one of the three defined types of Extra Expense. The insured operated a clinic in Joplin, Missouri.  On

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Posted in Extra Expense, Tornado
About The Property Insurance Law Observer
For more than four decades, Cozen O’Connor has represented all types of property insurers in jurisdictions throughout the United States, and it is dedicated to keeping its clients abreast of developments that impact the insurance industry. The Property Insurance Law Observer will survey court decisions, enacted or proposed legislation, and regulatory activities from all 50 states. We will also include commentary on current issues and developing trends of interest to first-party insurers.
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