From noteworthy court decisions to the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Michael, it has been another busy year in the world of property insurance claims and litigation. Here is a recap of 10 of our top articles from throughout the year:
1. Florida Appellate Court Sides with Homeowner in Water Damage Insurance Claim
In March, we discussed a case from Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal in which the court ruled that a homeowner was entitled to coverage for 13 days under a policy provision that excluded coverage for losses due to water damage “over a period of 14 or more days.” Perhaps even more significant, the court ruled that it was incumbent upon the insurance company to prove that any excluded losses occurred after the 14-day exclusionary period.
2. Florida’s Federal Appellate Court Rules that Insurance Agents are Not Fiduciaries
In a less-favorable decision for homeowners, in April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that insurance agents do not owe a fiduciary duty to their customers. This means that an insurance agent does not need to provide coverage recommendations based upon what is best for the homeowner.
3. When Should You Invoke Your Right to an Appraisal?
The right to invoke an appraisal provides an important remedy for homeowners facing disputes with their insurance companies. However, homeowners will generally want to consider other options first, as invoking the right to an appraisal results in a binding decision.
4. Florida Homeowners Successfully Appeal Denial of Coverage for Water Damage
In another water damage case, another Florida court sided with the homeowners after their insurance company sought to deny coverage by arguing that water damage from a pipe failure was subject to a policy exclusion for “[w]ater that backs up or overflows or is otherwise discharged from a sewer, drain, sump, sump pump or related equipment.”
5. What Homeowners Need to Know about “Managed Repair Programs”
While insurance companies try to sell managed repair programs as “benefits” to policy holders, the reality is that they present a number of risks for homeowners.
6. Covered or Not? 8 Kinds of Hurricane-Related Property Damage
Are foundation cracks caused by hurricanes covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy? What about damage from fallen trees? In this edition of our Covered or Not? series, we discussed eight different types of hurricane-related property damage.
7. Florida Homeowners Must File Their Property Damage Insurance Claims Promptly
In August, we discussed another litigated coverage dispute in which the trial court and the appellate court both sided with the insurance company. The outcome of the case hinged on the fact that the homeowner’s delay in filing a claim resulted in “prejudice” to his insurer.
8. How “Impartial” is Your Insurance Company’s Appraiser?
When you file an insurance claim, there are a number of reasons to hire a public adjuster. One of these reasons is the fact that an appraiser’s “direct or indirect financial interest in the outcome of [a dispute],’ including an arrangement for a contingent fee, [merely] requires disclosure rather than disqualification.”
9. What is the Scope of Your “Duty to Cooperate” During an Insurance Claim?
As a policy holder, you have an obligation to “[c]ooperate . . . in the investigation, settlement or defense of any claim or suit.” In November, we discussed what this means for disputing your insurance company’s handling of your claim.
10. What is a “Concurrent Cause” and When Can (and Can’t) Insurers Deny Coverage?
Is the “concurrent cause” clause in your insurance policy enforceable? Also in November, we discussed a case in which Florida’s Supreme Court held that, “when independent perils converge and no single cause can be considered the sole or proximate cause, it is appropriate to apply the concurring cause doctrine.”
Speak With a Fort Lauderdale Insurance Claim Lawyer at Saavedra | Goodwin
If you are struggling to secure payment from your homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance carrier in South Florida, our lawyers can help you enforce the terms of your policy. To speak with an experienced attorney in confidence, call 954-767-6333 or inquire online today.