Legal Blog

Recent Developments in Property Insurance Coverage Litigation

The standard fire policy, which is the pre-cursor of modern property insurance, has been around for more than one hundred years, and yet we are still litigating many of the same issues. The same holds true in this survey period. Although we are more than seven-years past Superstorm Sandy, related cases are still being decided in the appellate courts. These cases will have an impact on the upcoming Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria cases now in litigation. Other issues experiencing renewed popularity include matching and whether labor can be depreciated when calculating actual cash value.

HURRICANES AND FLOODS

In Migliaro v. Fidelity. National Indemnity Insurance Co., the court held that an insurer’s rejection of a proof of loss under a Standard Flood Insurance Recent Developments in Property Insurance Coverage Litigation 445 Program (“SFIP”) policy is not a per se denial of the claim, but it is a denial if the policyholder treats it as such and files suit against the insurer. Migliaro’s property was damaged in Sandy. After receiving payment for his initial claim, Migliaro submitted a proof of loss for additional damages. Fidelity sent a letter titled “Rejection of Proof of Loss.” The SFIP has a one-year statute of limitations, and insureds may not file suit under the SFIP until a claim has been denied in writing. The court held that, “[b]ecause a policyholder cannot bring suit until his claim has been denied in writing, Migliaro must have accepted that this had occurred when he brought suit” and “by bringing suit, Migliaro acknowledged that the letter constituted a written denial of his claim.”

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©2020. Published in Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, Vol. 55, No. 2, Spring 2020, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

 

ABOUT JAY LEVIN

Jay M. Levin is an insurance recovery attorney and serves as the chair of the firm’s Insurance Recovery practice group in the Philadelphia office. He focuses his practice on representing policyholders in disputes with insurance companies involving all types of insurance coverage. Jay has extensive litigation experience in multi-million dollar property insurance coverage cases, including suits involving policy construction and application, cause and origin, valuation, and business interruption issues. He has assisted clients in successfully resolving eight and nine-figure Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy cases without litigation, and successfully representing other policyholders in litigating Katrina and Sandy cases. Jay represents financial institutions and other commercial policyholders in claims arising under fidelity and crime policies, including claims arising out of defaulted mortgages and employee embezzlement.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT MEGAN SHANNON

Megan Shannon is an attorney in the firm’s insurance recovery group.  She represents policyholders in disputes with insurance companies involving a wide range of insurance policies.  She advises clients on the insurance coverage available to them when they suffer a loss or are named as a defendant in litigation.  Ms. Shannon helps clients present claims to their insurance company to efficiently claim all benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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