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Category Archives: Property Insurance

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Class Action Against State Auto Concerning Homeowners’ Policy Limits Is One Worth Watching

Posted in Property Insurance

Insurers typically adjust (or propose to adjust) the policy limits on a homeowners’ policy every year to take into account changes in the cost of construction. This is intended to help insureds make sure that sufficient coverage is available if there is a total loss. At the same time, this can result in an increase… Continue Reading

Insurance Class Action on Polybutylene (PB) Piping: Magistrate Judge Recommends Denial of Motion to Decertify Class

Posted in Property Insurance

I’ve written before (see my February 1, 2012 blog post) on a class action pending in the District of Arizona involving repair or replacement of polybutylene (PB) piping on property insurance claims.  The policy language at issue provides that “If loss to covered property is caused by water or steam not otherwise excluded, we will… Continue Reading

Class Action on Depreciation of Labor on Property Insurance Claims: New Arkansas Supreme Court Decision

Posted in Property Insurance

In a putative class action pending Arkansas federal court, a question of law was certified to the Arkansas Supreme Court regarding whether labor may be depreciated on property insurance claims, if the insurance policy does not define the term “actual cash value” (see my May 8, 2013 blog post on the federal court’s certification of… Continue Reading

Depreciation Class Action: Arkansas Federal Court Certifies Question to Arkansas Supreme Court

Posted in Property Insurance

In August of 2012, I reported on a newly-filed class action in Arkansas federal court alleging that, in estimates on property insurance claims, application of depreciation to labor costs is improper (see my August 7, 2012 blog post).  As an update on this case, Chief Judge P.K. Holmes, III of the Western District of Arkansas… Continue Reading

Depreciation Class Action: California Superior Court Grants Class Certification

Posted in Property Insurance

Back in May of 2011, I wrote on this blog about a new class action in California against Farmers involving claims of improper application of depreciation on property insurance claims, allegedly in violation of a California statute and regulation that govern application of depreciation (see my May 17, 2011 blog post).  In a similar case… Continue Reading

Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene Class Action Filed Regarding Flood Insurance Claims

Posted in Property Insurance

It’s been only about 45 days since Superstorm Sandy struck, and already the first insurance class action has been filed in New Jersey federal court.  In Donnelly v. New Jersey Re-Insurance Company, et al, Case No. 2:33-av-00001 (D.N.J., filed Dec. 13, 2012), the allegations focus on coverage for flood insurance claims made under the federal Standard… Continue Reading

Hurricane Sandy Insurance Claims: How Insurers Can Reduce Class Action and Bad Faith Exposure

Posted in Property Insurance

Insurers are starting to deploy adjusters to handle claims from Hurricane Sandy.  An article in today’s Wall Street Journal reports that “Disaster-modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates the industry’s share of losses at $7 billion to $15 billion. At the high end of that range, Sandy would become the third-most expensive storm for insurers in U.S…. Continue Reading

New Class Actions on Depreciation and Subrogation “Made Whole” Doctrine

Posted in Property Insurance

I recently came across two new class action filings against insurance companies that may be of interest to readers of my blog.  One case involves whether it is appropriate to depreciate labor costs in estimating actual cash value.  Another case involves the application of the “made whole” doctrine, where applicable, to insurers’ handling of subrogation… Continue Reading

Class Action on Preferred Contractor Program Filed Against Allstate

Posted in Property Insurance

Some insurance companies have preferred contractor programs under which the insurer, or a party they contract with, develops a network of contractors who are available to repair property damage for insureds.  The insurer typically subjects contractors to a background check of some kind before they are included in the network, and may require contractors in… Continue Reading

Property Insurance Class Action: Alleged Underpayment of ACV Found Insufficient Where RCV Payment Complied With Policy

Posted in Property Insurance

Property insurance policies typically provide for an initial payment on an actual cash value (ACV) basis, which is often calculated as the replacement cost less depreciation.  After the repairs are completed, under many policies the insured can recover an additional payment up to the full replacement cost value (RCV) of the loss.  Insureds have brought… Continue Reading

Diminished Value on Property Claims: Royal Capital Development LLC v. Maryland Casualty Company (Georgia Supreme Court)

Posted in Property Insurance

The Georgia Supreme Court recently held that diminution in value of real property is potentially covered under a property insurance policy in addition to the cost of repairs.  See Royal Capital Development LLC v. Maryland Casualty Company, No. S12Q0209, 2012 Ga. LEXIS 501 (Ga. May 29, 2012).  This type of diminution in value potentially could… Continue Reading

New Underwriting Class Action Against Allstate Alleges Overvaluation of Homes

Posted in Property Insurance

In February, there was a new class action filed against Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Florida’s property insurer of last resort, alleging that it was using Xactware’s 360Value software to purportedly overvalue homes and charge inflated premiums.  This week, Allstate was sued in a putative nationwide class action in Illinois federal court making claims on a… Continue Reading

Tornado Damage Claims Lead to Class Actions Against Insurance Companies in Alabama

Posted in Property Insurance

Hurricane Katrina resulted in a slew of property insurance class actions.  While hopefully the U.S. will not see a disaster of that scale again for decades, recent years have brought a large number of smaller-scale catastrophes, most notably tornadoes, such as the ones that hit Joplin, Missouri, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2011.  Recent years have… Continue Reading

Class Action on Valuations Using Xactware’s 360Value Filed Against Florida Citizens Insurance, With More Cases Reportedly To Follow

Posted in Property Insurance

This week there has been some buzz in the insurance industry media and Florida media about a new class action filing against Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-sponsored property insurer of last resort in Florida, and Xactware Solutions, Inc.  The case, Freitas v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, was filed in the Circuit Court of the… Continue Reading

Property Insurance Class Action on Polybutylene (PB) Pipes Against State Farm: Partial Summary Judgment in Favor of Class Is Recommended

Posted in Property Insurance

A recent report and recommendation by a federal magistrate judge in Arizona recommends that partial summary judgment be granted in favor of a certified class of insureds, in a property insurance class action involving polybutylene (PB) plumbing.  Given this result, other insurance companies might see new “piggyback” class action filings on this issue, which potentially… Continue Reading

Insurance Bad Faith Class Action: Louisiana Supreme Court Reinstates $92 Million Verdict

Posted in Property Insurance

The hot topic in the insurance class action world this week is the Louisiana Supreme Court’s decision, by a 4-3 vote, to reinstate a $92 million verdict against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-sponsored insurer of last resort, in a bad faith class action.  Remarkably, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon (who was just recently… Continue Reading

Overhead and Profit Class Action: Alabama Supreme Court Reverses Class Certification

Posted in Property Insurance

A hot issue in recent years in property insurance class actions, an issue I’ve defended a number of cases on, is general contractor overhead and profit.  The issue is under what circumstances insurance companies are required to include in their estimates on property damage claims a fee for the services of a general contractor.  For… Continue Reading

Recent New Insurance Class Actions Involving Use of Staff Counsel, Wildfire Claims, and Depreciation on Auto Claims

Posted in Arbitration/Appraisal, Auto Insurance, Property Insurance

Several notable recent class action filings against insurers have come across my desk (or computer screen) and seem worthy of interest to readers of this blog.  I will summarize and comment briefly on them.  If you’d like a copy of any of the complaints, just e-mail me. Use of Staff Counsel:  In Golden v. State… Continue Reading

Hurricane Irene: As Insurance Companies Prepare to Adjust Claims, How Can They Reduce Bad Faith and Class Action Exposure?

Posted in Property Insurance

As Hurricane Irene takes aim at New York and Connecticut (where I live), and the rest of the mid-Atlantic and New England, insurers are preparing to deploy their catastrophe teams and/or independent adjuster teams to handle claims in a region that has not been impacted by a hurricane in a number of years.  An article… Continue Reading

Appraisal Under Property Insurance Policies: California Court of Appeal Rules That Trial Courts Have Discretion To Defer Appraisal Until After Resolution Of Declaratory Judgment Claim

Posted in Arbitration/Appraisal, Property Insurance

The California Court of Appeal recently held in a putative class action that trial courts have discretion to defer an appraisal (which is similar to arbitration but limited to resolution of the amount of a property insurance loss) until after resolution of a declaratory judgment claim.  The court did not address what impact that may… Continue Reading