Here are some basics about life insurance for a life insurance lawyer to understand.

Common life insurance types are term, whole life, and universal life.

“Term” policies simply provide a death benefit in return for a premium payment.  At the end of the policy year, or “term”, the insurance ends, and the policy has no value.  Term policies do not accrue cash value.  Because the insured is only paying for the death benefit, term policies are cheaper in the early years.  As the insured gets older, the risk of death increases and so does the premium, so term may become more expensive than the other types.  Insurers typically sell term policies that promise a fixed premium for a set number of years.  For example, an insurer may sell a 10 year term policy that the insured may purchase and renew for the same annual premium during those years, without having to re-qualify.

Insurance lawyers trying to help client with automobile property damage will find they need to understand and be able to explain the damages in two ways.  Actual Cash Value (ACV) and diminished value.

“Actual cash value” is the value of the vehicle, less depreciation.  The limitation of “actual cash value” has been upheld and found to be reasonable cash market value of the vehicle before the loss.  This is discussed in the 1968, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, Superior Pontiac Co. v. Queen Insurance Company.

Even after a vehicle is fully repaired, its value may still be diminished, but the insurer is not liable to pay for this diminution of value.  This is discussed in the 20023, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, American Manufacturers Insurance Co. v. Schaefer.  Keep in mind this is in the context of your own insurer, not the other guys insurance company.  The other guy’s insurance can be held responsible for diminution of value.

The terms “repair” and “replace” mean restoring the automobile to essentially the same condition as it was in immediately before the collision.  It would not be restored to the same condition if the repairs left the market value of the auto substantially less than the value before the collision.  This was the decision in the 1969, Corpus Christi Court of Appeals opinion, Northwestern National Insurance Company v. Cope.

As stated in the 1968, Tyler Court of Appeals opinion, Agricultural Workers Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Dawson, if a vehicle is repairable, the insured is entitled to no more than what it would cost to repair the property.  This presumes the vehicle has been repaired to essentially the same condition that it was in before the loss.  But if, after repair, the vehicle has not been restored to the same condition as it was in immediately before the loss, the owner may be entitled to recover for diminution in value without necessarily showing the repairs were inadequate.  This was discussed in the 1968, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, Superior Pontiace Co. v. Queen Insurance Co.

If an insurer repairs a vehicle, it must use parts of “like kind and quality” according to the 2003, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, American Manufacturers Mutual Insurance Co. v. Schaefer.

Springtown insurance lawyers need to read this Corpus Christi Court of Appeals opinion dealing with late payment on an insurance policy.  The case is styled, Schrader v. Texas Farm Bureau Underwriters.

The trial court granted summary judgement in favor of Farm Bureau.

Schrader alleged in his lawsuit against Farm Bureau that two farming tractors and related equipment valued at $60,000, were stolen from him sometime between December 5 and 13, 2013.  Farm Bureau had denied the claim based on its assertion that the policy was not in force for the date of loss.  Schrader asserts the policy was “undeniably in force until midnight on December 6 and should have bee reinstated retroactively to November 30, 2013, as premiums were forwarded via the agent.

The United States District Court, S.D. Texas, McAllen Division, denied a defense motion for summary judgment in a case where the defendant settled a claim with a homeowner who had two claims, asserting that the release covered both claims.  The case is styled, Aidee Bazan v. State Farm Lloyds.

Bazan had insurance with State Farm insuring his residential property.  Two storms are alleged to have damaged Bazan’s property – the first in March 2016, and the second in May 2016 – forming the basis of two different lawsuits against State Farm.

A dispute arose about the damages sustained by Bazan and a lawsuit was filed as to the March 2016 damage.  Bazan later filed a lawsuit on the second storm damage.   This second claim was assigned claim number 912. The pleadings on the two lawsuits are essentially the same.

The United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division, Judge Boyle, issued an Order remanding a case in March of 2018.  The case is styled, Allied Stone, Inc. v. Acadia Insurance Company, Union Standard Insurance Group, LLC, and James Amato.

Acadia insured property owned by Allied.  In 2016, Allied claims it suffered hail and wind damage and made a claim to Acadia.  Acadia hired Union to adjust the claim.  Acadia sent out it’s employee Amato.

Allied Stone alleges in relevant part that “Mr. Amato did not prepare any estimates

The United States District Court, Northern District Texas, Abilene Division, issued an opinion March 13, 2018, that is worth reading to note deficiencies in a case against State Farm.  It is styled, Bob Click v. State Farm Lloyds and Rob Allen.

Pleadings in Federal Court are strict.  This case was filed in State Court against State Farm and their adjuster.  State Farm removed the case to Federal Court and Click filed a motion to remand back to the State Court.  The Motion to Remand was denied.

Click’s home suffered water damage.  Click’s homeowners policy with State Farm covered this type of loss.  Click objected to State Farm’s estimates of damages that were quotes of $9,015 and $11,824.  State Farm did another inspection and quoted $18,288.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Judge Boyle, issued an opinion on March 9, 2018, wherein the court denied the insurance company request for summary judgment.  The case is styled, Padilla v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.

This dispute arises from a claim for insurance benefits under a homeowners’ policy.  The claim was with Allstate for wind and hail damage to Padilla’s property.  Allstate’s adjuster inspected the home, a shed roof, several windows, the back fence, the back deck, an AC unit cover, the pergola, and the carport.  The adjuster assessed damages at $19,132.24.  After subtracting the $9,789.70 deductible, recoverable depreciation of $801.61, and non-recoverable depreciation of $3,786.16, Allstate issued a check for $4,754.77.

Padilla filed sued for breach of contract and violations of the Texas Insurance Code.  Allstate caused the case to be removed to Federal Court and filed it’s motion for summary judgment.

Here is some basic information about automobile policy coverage for damage to your insured vehicle.

Under this portion of an auto policy the limit of liability to the insurer is the lesser of:  1)  the actual case value of the stolen or damaged property, 2)  the amount necessary to repair or replace the property with like, kind, and quality, 3)  the amount stated in the declarations of the policy.

The terms “repair” and “replace” mean restoring the auto to essentially the same condition as it was in immediately before the damage.  This is discussed in the 1969, Corpus Christi Court of Appeals opinion, Northwestern National Insurance Co. v. Cope and the 1998, Austin Court of Appeals opinion, Great Texas County Mutual Insurance Co. v. Lewis.

Here’s some basic information for insurance lawyers.

“Collision” is defined in the standard policy as “the upset, or collision with another object, of your covered auto.”

As an example, in the 1984, Amarillo Court of Appeals opinion, Nutchey v. Three R’s Trucking Company, Inc., a three-inch depression in a road, which caused damage to a trailer fell under this definition of “collision.”