The Property Line

Tressler’s experienced Insurance attorneys write about the latest legal news. Tressler has been focused on protecting the interests of insurers for more than 30 years.

Latest from The Property Line

In Witcher v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 2018 IL App (5th) 170001-U (Ill. App. Jan. 26, 2018), the insureds demanded an appraisal following a fire loss.  A fire rendered the insureds’ home a total loss, but the insureds and State Farm could not agree on loss valuation. State Farm received notice of the written appraisal demand, but did not respond to it within 20 days of receipt as required by its homeowner’s policy. The subsequent 15-day deadline in the appraisal provision for the parties’ appraisers to agree on an umpire also passed without the selection of an umpire…
Aon Hussain is an associate in the Insurance Practice.  He represents insurers in litigation and non-litigation matters related to commercial general liability coverage, first party property coverage, and excess/umbrella liability coverage.  Many of his cases require the defense of common law and statutory bad faith claims. His practice areas include Litigation, Insurance, Claims Handling & Extracontractual Liability, Commercial Litigation, Coverage Analysis, First Party Property, and Insurance Consulting. He received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law with Cum Laude honors and currently works out of Tressler’s Chicago office. Where are you from? I grew up in a suburb just north…
Add Colorado to the handful of states set to provide guidance on the level of impartiality required of appraisers. The Colorado Supreme Court recently provided notice that it will rule on key issues relating to the interpretation of appraisal provisions in first party property policies.  In granting certiorari, the court noted that its upcoming ruling will analyze: (1) whether an appraiser can “favor one side more than the other” and act as “advocates” for the selecting party; and (2) whether “permitting insurance appraisers to utilize contingent-cap fee agreements that tie the appraiser’s own compensation to the ultimate appraisal award”…
The year 2017 has not been too kind.  In late August, Hurricane Harvey ravaged Texas.  Initial estimates for damages related to Harvey are between $70 billion and $108 billion.  Now, Florida and its neighbors in the Southeast are experiencing the impact of Hurricane Irma.  And after Hurricane Irma subsides, some meteorologists suggest that another tropical storm, Hurricane Jose, may potentially impact the United States as well. Given these events, it is likely that property insurers will be inundated with claims.  As such, The Property Line has created a list of coverage issues that may arise with respect to first…
Many times, significant losses occur on property where the named insured owes delinquent property taxes.  Certain states have codified laws mandating that, in such scenarios, a property insurer first pay delinquent property taxes from fire loss proceeds prior to paying the named insured.  A recent United States Court of Appeals decision for the Third Circuit was recently tasked with the interpretation of such a statute. In The Trustees of Conneaut Lake Park, the case centered around a Pennsylvania law that prohibits insurance companies from paying fire insurance proceeds to a named insured unless the local municipality first certifies that no…
By Aon Hussain Tressler’s Property Line has taken a keen interest on whether labor can be depreciated in determining the actual cash value (ACV) of a first party property loss.  Aside from creating a 50 State Survey on ACV and the depreciation of labor, we have blogged about recent decisions in Minnesota and Arkansas that have addressed the issue.  Last week, the highest court of Nebraska provided an additional answer to this issue when it ruled that labor may be depreciated in determining ACV. Henn v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co. was a putative class action filed against an insurer…
In property claims, issues often arise regarding: (1) whether a given structure is a part of the dwelling; and (2) what coverage limits apply to certain structures. The Texas Supreme Court recently addressed these issues in Nassar v. Liberty Mutual, a case where the insured and insurer disputed whether fencing on the property was a “dwelling” or an “other structure” under the terms of the pertinent policy. The insureds owned six acres of property that included a home and fencing spanning over 4,000 linear feet. Bolts connected certain parts of the fencing to the home. There was also separate…
After suffering a loss, it is quite common for homeowners to assign their rights under a policy to a contractor that repairs the damages. However, a conflict arises when a homeowner assigns their rights under a policy even though the policy itself may contain a non-assignment provision. Recently, the Nebraska Supreme Court was tasked with resolving such a dispute. In Millard Gutter v. Farm Bureau Prop. & Cas. Corp., a storm damaged an insured’s roof. The insured retained a roofing contractor to repair the roof. In exchange for repairing the roof, the insured assigned his rights under the policy…
Some commentators are suggesting that the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday in Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co. was an important “win” for policyholders. On some levels that is true, but the victory may prove fleeting. The Florida high court ruled that an entire property insurance claim is covered where there are multiple concurrent causes of loss and at least one cause is covered. This ruling resolved a split among the Florida intermediate appellate courts, as some had adopted the “efficient proximate cause” doctrine, while others applied the more policyholder-friendly “concurrent cause” approach. The efficient proximate cause test looks to…
Republished from Tressler’s Privacy Risk Report blog. In Camp’s Grocery, Inc. v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 4:16-cv-00204 (October 25, 2016), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted summary judgment to defendant State Farm and denied plaintiff Camp’s Grocery (Camp’s) cross-motion to establish coverage for a data breach incident under a first party property policy and Inland Marine endorsements. Camp’s was sued in the underlying litigation when the computer systems at a grocery store it operated in Alabama were hacked and confidential customer data including credit card, debit card and check card information was compromised.…