Property Insurance News

05/11/2021 10:45 AM
Farmers Insurance Settles for $25M with Oklahoma Attorney General Over Earthquake Coverage
Farmers Insurance, in an effort to extend its insurance reach, offered residents of the state of Oklahoma property insurance with an endorsement coverage for property damage caused by earthquakes. Between January 1, 2001 and March 1, 2021, thousands of Oklahomans purchased this cover as a means to protect themselves from the growing seismic activity the state faced. As part of a bulletin issued by the state’s Insurance Commissioner, insurers providing such coverage were expected to 1) conduct prior inspection of properties insured under such coverage and maintain a current record of property conditions pre-earthquake, and 2) train adjusters accordingly. These expectations were in-line with Farmers’ own policies. However, as damages from earthquakes grew, so too did the number of claims Farmers denied.

05/07/2021 03:30 PM
Florida Senate Passes Legislation to Reform Litigation for Property Insurance Claims
Toward the end of the 2021 Florida legislative session, the Florida Senate passed Senate Bill 76, a bill that focuses on reducing litigation related to property insurance claims and also places restrictions on companies soliciting insureds to file roof claims. At the heart of SB 76 is the implementation of a presuit requirement that any claimant (who is not an assignee of the policy) must provide written notice of intent to initiate litigation to the insurer at least 10 business days before filing suit under the policy. The notice of intent requires the claimant to state the alleged acts or omissions of the insurer. In addition, if the claim regards a denial of coverage by the insurer, then the claimant must provide an estimate of the damages, if known. If the alleged acts or omissions of the insurer are not a denial of coverage, then the claimant must provide a presuit demand. The presuit demand must itemize the damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, as well as the disputed amount.

05/06/2021 01:40 PM
At Least 5 Tornadoes Confirmed in North Texas
Weather officials so far have confirmed at least five tornadoes touched down across North Texas during severe storms on Monday night. Two of those tornadoes were EF2s, one in Hill County near Blum and a second in Ellis County near Waxahachie. Roofs were ripped off and buildings destroyed near Forreston, Blum and other parts of North Texas amidst severe storms Monday night. Late Tuesday morning, NWS survey crews said an EF2 tornado struck around 7:30 p.m. Monday northwest of Blum with winds estimated at about 130 miles per hour. The tornado traveled 3.36 miles between 7:18 and 7:29 p.m.

05/05/2021 10:53 AM
Blaze Totals Utah Cabin, Loss Estimated at $2M
A large cabin home in Duck Creek Village was destroyed in a structure fire late Sunday night. Adam Scott, deputy fire chief for Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District, said the initial call reporting the fire came in at 10:08 p.m. The first engine arrived on scene four minutes later, at 10:12 p.m., he added, noting that the two-story structure was ‘fully involved’ in flames when responding crews arrived. Scott said there was one resident inside the home at the time and she was able to evacuate safely. ‘She was upstairs sleeping, heard a pop and thought that someone was trying to break in,’ Scott said. ‘She went downstairs and saw the flames and was able to get outside.’ The structure and its contents were a total loss, Scott said, adding that damages are estimated at $2 million.

05/04/2021 12:07 PM
Employees Relieved After Chubb Ends Pursuit of The Hartford
Insurance company giant Chubb Ltd. recently announced that it has dropped its pursuit of acquiring The Hartford Financial Services Group. This decision has concluded two turbulent months of offers and rejections between the firms. Over the last couple of months, the Chubb insurance company made three takeover offers to The Hartford Financial Services Group, each of which was turned down. The end of the insurer’s acquisition attempts also means that the city of Hartford can feel notably more secure about the employment situation there. ‘The chapter with The Hartford is over,’ said Evan Greenberg, Chubb CEO in a conference call last week with Wall Street analysts. ‘We have moved along.’

05/03/2021 01:24 PM
11 Injured, 2 Critical in Tennessee Restaurant Deck Collapse
Eleven people were injured, two critically, when an elevated deck of a Tennessee waterfront restaurant collapsed during a birthday party group photo, authorities said. The joyous festivities turned to a moment of terror on Saturday afternoon in suburban Chattanooga when an outdoor wooden deck at Zois Harbor Lights Restaurant suddenly gave way under the weight of more than 40 people posing for a birthday group photo, according to the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency. The episode unfolded around 4 p.m. at the restaurant in Soddy-Daisy overlooking Chickamauga Lake, officials said. Photos posted online by the Office of Emergency Management showed the large wooden deck caved in and splintered, lying in shambles amid broken railing, toppled support beams and twisted aluminum siding.

05/03/2021 11:15 AM
NWS Reports 19 Twisters In Nocturnal Tornado Outbreak Across Mississippi
Nearly 100,000 Mississippi residents were under a tornado emergency on Sunday night, including the city of Tupelo, as a confirmed large and destructive tornado tore through the region. Left in the wake of the night’s weather was damage strewn across three communities, inflicting destruction on buildings and downing power lines. Drone footage captured by Brian Emfinger of Live Storms Media gave unparalleled footage of the massive twister working its way over Yazoo City, Mississippi. The power of the tornado’s inflow cut the connection between the drone and Emfinger’s control, as he lost the device shortly after recording the powerful scene. Shortly before 10 p.m. CDT, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued a dire warning for the city of Tupelo, calling the situation particularly dangerous and life threatening as a confirmed tornado charged toward the city.

04/30/2021 11:31 AM
Damage From Texas, Oklahoma Hailstorms May Approach $3.5B
Major hailstorms pelted three big cities across the south-central United States on Wednesday night, shattering windows, denting vehicles and leaving behind headaches for homeowners. The hail hit such a widespread and populated area that damage estimates are expected to total upwards of $3 billion, according to AccuWeather forecasters. Communities around Norman, Oklahoma, and San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas, were hit the hardest by the storms, forcing residents to take shelter inside as the massive hail bombarded the areas. In Hondo, Texas, located west of San Antonio, hailstones rivaled the size of grapefruits, reaching roughly 4 inches in diameter. In Norman, hail ranged from the size of golf balls to baseballs. The hail was flying with such ferocity that windows of homes were shattered and, in some cases, caused damage inside.

04/29/2021 02:51 PM
COVID, ‘Direct Physical Loss’ And Your Property Policy: Can The Courts Even Figure This Out?
Whether property has suffered ‘direct physical loss’ when it cannot be used for its intended purpose is the first hurdle that most policyholders will face in the 1,500 lawsuits that have been filed regarding property insurance for COVID-19. It arises because property policies provide coverage separately for loss and for damage, typically through insuring agreements that cover ‘direct physical loss or damage.’ Courts are tied up in knots analyzing what ‘loss’ means in these insuring agreements, i.e., whether it means something different from ‘damage,’ whether it encompasses impaired functionality, and whether such coverage is necessarily precluded by the fact that economic loss can also be a measure of damages. So far, most federal courts have found no difference between loss and damage in insuring agreements, dismissing complaints on grounds that the policies unambiguously require structural, visible harm – and there was none. Many state courts have disagreed. They have either granted summary judgment for policyholders or allowed discovery to proceed into the facts and the policy language.

04/29/2021 02:12 PM
Huge Hail, Damaging Storms Strike Texas And Oklahoma
Hail as large as softballs rained down Wednesday evening as severe thunderstorms struck parts of Texas and Oklahoma. There were 38 reports of severe hail across Texas and Oklahoma, including near San Antonio, Fort Worth and Oklahoma City, according to the Storm Prediction Center. More than a dozen of those reports consisted of large, lime-sized hail, which is hail of at least 2 inches in diameter or larger. "We were in an interior closet with our children. It was eerily still outside and then we heard a loud noise and the house shook a bit with the first big hailstone," Rebecca Gilliam, a resident of Hondo, Texas, told CNN. One-inch hail can cause damage, but 4-inch hail, the size of a softball, was reported in the San Antonio suburb, battering cars and homes.