Thursday, November 15, 2018

California Wildfires and Related Insurance Claims Show No Signs of Stopping

“We can’t stop and we won’t stop.” Is this the refrain to a Miley Cyrus song, the creed of the thousands of firefighters currently battling California’s wildfires, or the mantra of the fires themselves? While any self-respecting Miley fan knows these are the lyrics to her hit “We Can’t Stop,” everyone who has seen the footage coming out of the California wildfires knows that the fires have been ferocious in their destruction, and the firefighters have been equally unrelenting in their efforts to contain them. Unfortunately, and fortunately, there is no wrong answer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

North Carolina Invokes Its Disaster Mediation Program

The North Carolina Insurance Commissioner has activated the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Disaster Mediation Program for first party claims in the wake of Hurricane Florence. The Program only becomes available if 1) a state of disaster has been proclaimed (by the Governor or the President) for all or part of North Carolina, within 60 days following the event, and 2) the Commissioner of Insurance subsequently orders Program activation. On September 14, 2018, the President of the United States issued a declaration of disaster for twenty-eight counties in North Carolina. The counties include: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson counties. On September 27, 2018, the Commissioner of Insurance issued an order activating the Program. North Carolina has contracted with the American Arbitration Association to act as the Program Administrator.

Hurricane Michael - Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Emergency Order

On October 15, 2018, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation issued an Emergency Order related to Hurricane Michael.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Hurricane Michael - Business Interruption Coverage in Florida and Georgia

Hurricane Michael’s devastation of the Florida Panhandle and damage caused as it moved through the South and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, will undoubtedly result in claims for lost income from the interruption of business. Whether these losses will be covered will depend on the policy wording used and the specific facts of each loss. Nevertheless, in anticipation of these claims, it is prudent to become familiar with the outcome of prior litigation arising out of business interruption and/or suspension of operations coverage disputes, as these cases can be instructive.

Continue reading.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hurricane Michael: Concurrent Causation in Florida

Hurricane Michael is making landfall in the panhandle of Florida as a wildly unexpected Category 4 hurricane. There will unquestionably be damage to structures caused by both storm surge/flood and wind. To the extent that one of the causes (e.g., storm surge/flood) is excluded and one cause (e.g., wind) is covered, this will inevitably lead to disputes over causation and the application of the concurrent causation doctrine.

Hurricane Michael First Party Property Claims Checklist for Georgia

On October 9, 2018, in anticipation of Hurricane Michael pushing through the panhandle of Florida and impacting the lower half of Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal issued a State of Emergency for most of the counties in the southern half of the state. Based on the size and intensity of Hurricane Michael as it makes landfall in Florida, it is likely that many of those counties will encounter intense winds and significant rainfall.

Hurricane Michael First Party Claims Checklist for Florida

On October 7, 2018, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 18-276 officially declaring a state of emergency in 26 counties including Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, and Citrus counties in response to potential landfall from Tropical Storm Michael. On October 8, 2018, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 18-277 which recognized the then Tropical Storm Michael would likely strike the Florida panhandle as a Hurricane and extended the previous Executive Order to include Baker, Union, Bradford, Alachua, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Manatee counties.