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Benchwarmer Effect: The Sobering Reality of Coblentz Agreements

March 28, 2017 Insurance Industry Legal Blog

General rules, as we are all too familiar, are privy to exceptions. A general rule concerning settlement agreements is that only parties to the settlement agreement are bound by its terms. Necessarily, there are instances wherein a party not in privity to a settlement agreement is nevertheless bound. One such instance is when an insurer disregards its duty to defend its insured.

Are Business Losses Arising From a Hurricane Covered by Insurance?

October 11, 2016 Insurance Industry Legal Blog

The answer to this question is that it depends on your policy. Generally, a business can insure against business losses by purchasing Business Interruption coverage or Contingent Business Interruption coverage. That being said, commercial insurance policies are not necessarily standard policies, and the specific language of the policy determines whether a business loss is a “covered loss.” An “all risk” policy, for example, covers all losses unless expressly excluded. Additionally, some insurance policies have a civil authority clause which provides business loss when a civil authority closes or denies access to the insured property. There are also insurance policies that have a service interruption clause which provides for business loss when there is an interruption of water or power to a business.

An Insurer’s Duty to Defend the Insured

April 20, 2016 Insurance Industry Legal Blog

A key consideration in developing a litigation strategy is whether or not insurance coverage applies to the causes of action at issue, which is important for both parties. For the plaintiff, coverage can mean that he has a greater chance of collecting on his judgment if it is going to be paid from insurance proceeds. For the insured defendant, insurance coverage can provide reassurance that, if any monetary judgment is awarded against him, he will not have to satisfy it from his own assets. Equally important, his policy will also probably stipulate that the insurer will provide him with an attorney and legal defense for any claims covered by the policy.

Could A Declaratory Action Help You Avoid Arbitration in a Home Warranty Claim?

February 12, 2016 Insurance Industry Legal Blog

Many new home purchases also include structural warranties, which, as the name suggests, provide warranty coverage for problems with the home’s structure, including walls, columns, framing, and roofing. These warranties often include arbitration clauses, which can have consequences for the homeowner’s legal strategy if he has to file suit to enforce his warranty claims.

Bankruptcy Treatment of a Security Interest in an Insurance Policy

June 3, 2013 Banking & Financial Services Industry Legal Blog, Insurance Industry Legal Blog

It is common knowledge that when a person or business files for bankruptcy, the end result is typically a discharge of debts. The bankruptcy debtor will no longer be personally responsible for payment of the outstanding debts. However, a security interest in real property remains, such as a lien created by a mortgage on a home. But what happens to a security interest in something more intangible, like insurance proceeds?

Understanding the Basics of Equitable Estoppel and Using Equitable Estoppel Principles to Create Insurance Coverage in Florida

October 26, 2010 Insurance Industry Legal Blog

Most courts nationwide continue to adhere to the majority position asserted by the court in Republic Ins. Co. v. Silverton Elevators, Inc., 493 S.W.2d 748 (Tex. 1973), that estoppel may not be employed to expand coverage not otherwise provided in an insurance contract. See, e.g., Laidlow Environmental Services, Inc. v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 524 S.E.2d 847, 852 (S.C. Ct. App. 1999) (estoppel and waiver cannot create coverage that does not otherwise exist); Martin v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co., 996 S.W.2d 506, 511 (Mo. 1999) (estoppel cannot be used to create coverage); Shepard v. Keystone Insurance Co., 743 F. Supp. 429, 433 (D. Md. 1990) (under Maryland law, “waiver and estoppel cannot be used to create liability where none previously existed, or to extend coverage beyond what was originally intended”); Fli-Back Co., Inc. v. Philadelphia Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Co., 502 F.2d 214, 216 (4th Cir. 1974) (same under North Carolina law).

Florida has joined the minority position creating or allowing coverage for an insured based on estoppel. Crown Life Ins. Co. v. McBride, 517 So.2d 660 (Fla. 1987).

Using Florida’s Agricultural Bond Laws as a Collection Tool

October 25, 2010 Banking & Financial Services Industry Legal Blog, Insurance Industry Legal Blog, Manufacturing & Distribution Industry Legal Blog

As our firm represents many materials suppliers and site work contractors/subcontractors, we are often presented with payment issues that require us to pursue unconventional avenues of recovery to obtain payment. One area in which we have had a good success is through making claims on Agricultural Bonds through the Florida Department of Agriculture. According to Florida law, any person who is engaged within the state in the business of buying, receiving, soliciting, handling, or negotiating agricultural products from or for Florida producers, or their agents, must be licensed and bonded. The Bureau of Agricultural Dealer’s Licenses is responsible for the licensing of dealers in agricultural products. Per the Department of Agriculture, “Florida License and Bond Law is intended to facilitate the marketing of Florida agricultural products by encouraging a better understanding between buyers and sellers and by providing a marketplace that is relatively free of unfair trading practices and defaults. The purpose of the law is to help assure that the producers of products covered by the law receive proper accounting and payment for their products.” If you do business with nurseries, landscaping companies, or virtually anyone who deals in green goods and you like to get paid the money you are rightfully owed, this post should be required reading.

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