Blog Archives

Third Circuit Says No to Insured’s Request for Reserve Information

In a victory for insurers, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently rejected an insured’s discovery request for reserve information in a first-party bad faith action.  In its April 29, 2014 decision in Mirarchi v. Seneca Speciality Insurance Company, — Fed.Appx. —, 2014 WL 1673748 (3d Cir., April 29, 2014), the Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s denial of the policyholder’s request for the reserves and, in doing so, endorsed  the numerous district court decisions that have previously held such information to be non-discoverable. In Mirarchi, a fire damaged the insured’s property.  The insurer paid the entire undisputed amount, and the parties proceed to appraisal on the remainder of the claim.  An umpire entered an award close

Tagged with:
Posted in Discovery, Reserves, U.S. Legal System

Social Media — The Possibilities Are Endless!

Facebook.  Instagram.  YouTube.  Twitter.  LinkedIn.  SnapChat.  Flickr.  Google+.  Tumblr.   WeChat.  MySpace.  WhatsApp.  Reddit.  The list of social media and networking sites goes on and on.  It’s fairly common knowledge these days that a defendant can use social media and networking sites such as those  to investigate personal injury claimants.  In addition, more and more companies are using these types of sources to research potential employees.  You may be surprised to learn, however, that social media can be an extremely useful tool for the investigation of property damage and business interruption losses. Consider some scenarios: An insured submits a claim for damage to a roof, asserting that it was the result  of a recent storm.  However, using the “Historical Imagery” capability

Tagged with:
Posted in Investigation

The House and Senate Vote to Roll Back National Flood Insurance Program Premium Increases

Congress has officially placed the bipartisan Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in hands of President Obama.  If enacted, it will undo significant provisions of a 2012 law that caused sharp flood insurance rate increases. On March 4, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 306-91 to pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, H.R. 3370.  This repeals portions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.  Just yesterday, March 16, the U.S. Senate voted 72-22 to approve the bill and send it to the President for his consideration. For those who don’t remember the Biggert-Waters Act, it was passed back in 2012 with overwhelming support in both houses of Congress.  It called for changes to the National Flood Insurance Program. 

Tagged with:
Posted in Flood, Flood Insurance

New York’s Highest Court Holds a Two-Year Suit Limitation Provision Can Be Unenforceable

In answer to a question certified by the Second Circuit, New York Court of Appeals has held that a two-year suit limitation provision in a property insurance policy – which the court acknowledged was not an “inherently unreasonable” provision – was unenforceable under the factual circumstances of the case before it.  Executive Plaza, LLC v. Peerless Ins. Co., — N.Y.3d –, 2014 WL 551251, 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 165 (N.Y. Feb. 13, 2014).  In doing so, the court held for the first time that such a limitation period may be rendered unreasonable by what it called an inappropriate accrual date. Peerless Insurance Company issued a $1 million fire insurance policy to Executive Plaza.  This gave Executive the choice to select payment

Tagged with:
Posted in Replacement Cost, Suit Limitation

Saving Green by Going Green

As Kermit the Frog famously said: “It’s not easy being green.”  When it comes to property insurance, Kermit is only partially correct.  Although green buildings and commercial construction projects pose unique risks that are likely not covered by traditional commercial property policies, the insurance industry has become increasingly responsive to this issue by creating and offering products specifically tailored for green risks. Just What is Green Construction, Anyway? Green construction (also known as a “green building” or a “sustainable building”) is an environmentally responsible and resource efficient structure and process.  In other words, it’s not just the building itself that’s “green” – it’s the entire construction and using process. The objective of green construction is to reduce the overall impact

Posted in Business Interuption, Green Insurance, Replacement Cost

Florida Courts Differ On Whether The Undefined Term “Structural Damage” In A Sinkhole Case Should Be Given A Broad Or A Narrow Interpretation

Since 2005, Florida law has defined “sinkhole loss” as “structural damage to the building, including the foundation, caused by sinkhole activity.”  The term “structural damage” was long-undefined, however, leading numerous Florida courts to interpret that phrase broadly as meaning nothing more than “damage to the structure.”  In 2011, however, the Florida Legislature adopted a much narrower five-part definition of “structural damage” for application when construing policies affording coverage for sinkhole loss.  Fla. Stat. §627.706(2)(k) (2011).  The state’s federal courts have now split on the issue of whether that definition automatically applies to contracts of insurance issued after the statute’s effective date. The question came to the forefront in Juan Pinzon and Jaqueline Espitia v. The First Liberty Ins. Corp., 2013

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Sinkhole, Uncategorized
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.
Stay Connected

Email:

Topics
Cozen O’Connor Blogs