Articles Posted in Home Owners Policies

Knowing the statute of limitations on a case is vital.  This is illustrated in a 2018, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division opinion styled, Lillian Smith v. Travelers Casualty Insurance Company of America.

Smith sued Travelers for violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPS), Texas Insurance Code violations, and breach of contract.  Travelers filed a motion for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations.

The allegations in the case are that a lightening strike caused damage to Smith’s home and air conditioner.  The claim was reported on September 5, 2013, and acknowledged on September 7, 2013.  An investigation was conducted in September and October of 2013.  Travelers issued a denial letter on November 13, 2013.

Texas law requires pre-suit notice in many situations.  The Texas Insurance Code requires pre-suit notice before certain homeowners claims can be litigated.  An example of this is found in the 2018 opinion, Dwight Davis v. Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company.  The opinion is from the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Davis filed a first party lawsuit against Allstate.  Allstate filed a Verified Motion to Abate Pursuant to Texas Insurance Code, Section 542A.103.

The purpose of the notice requirement is to discourage litigation and encourage settlements.  The statute reads in part:

The U.S. District Court, Eastern District, Sherman Division, issued an opinion in May 2018, styled, James Cunningham and Tabatha Cunningham v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company.

The Cunningham’s allegedly suffered damages during a hail and windstorm.  The claim was reported to Allstate and five days later Allstate inspected the property.  The Cunningham’s requested a re-inspection which was denied.  Without providing a proof of loss in accordance with policy provisions, the Cunningham’s filed suit against Allstate.

Allstate responded by filing a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction due to the Cunningham’s failure to satisfy the policy proof of loss requirement.

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, 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.

Too many homeowner claims resulting from a fire get denied by the insurance company because the insurance company believes they can prove the fire was the result of arson.  The Insurance Journal ran a story in March 2018, that illustrates that sometimes the insurance company is right.  The story is titled “Two Plead Guilty To Insurance Fraud By Arson In West Virginia.”

The story tells us that two men pled guilty in federal court for their respective roles in a scheme to commit insurance fraud by arson.

Dudley Bledsoe, age 63, of Hanover in Wyoming County, West Virginia, and Ricky Dwayne Gleason, age 54, of Peach Creek in Logan County, West Virginia, both pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful monetary transactions before Senior District Court Judge David A. Faber in Bluefield, West Virginia.

CNBC published an article in February 2018, titled, “Florida Shootings May Complicate Insurance For Gun Owners.”

To start with, gun owners need to know that most homeowner policies are not going to cover situations where a person has to use a gun.  The policies will cover accidents but not other types of occurrences.

The insurance company Chubb has decided to stop underwriting an insurance policy for gun owners called NRA Carry Guard.  This policy covers gun owners in the event they face legal repercussions following firearm incidents.

Flood insurance premiums are calculated based upon geographic maps setting forth the boundaries for various flood zones.

Because most property insurance policies covering property at fixed locations exclude flooding, flood insurance must be purchased separately.  In 1969, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program to administer the sale of flood insurance.  National flood insurance is available directly from the Federal Insurance Administration or through hundreds of private insurers who participate in federal insurance programs.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reinsurers private companies against flood losses.

Contract claims must be filed in federal court, and are subject to strict requirements of the policy and federal law.  Insureds still have the right in the Fifth Circuit to bring suit on extra-contractual claims under state law against a flood insurer, according to the 1993 opinion, Spence v. Omaha Indem. Ins. Co.  It should be noted that there is a disagreement in this area as to whether the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, preempts state law in this area.

Insurance lawyers practicing law in urban areas will usually be around a lot of condominiums.  Most people do not realize there is insurance that is specifically for condominiums.

Two Insurance Services Office (ISO) commercial property forms have been designated for condominium property exposures:

  1. Condominium Association Coverage Form; and