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Category: Insurance Law

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What You Need to Know About Cyber Insurance

Fri Apr 12th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

The potential impact of technology on the business of insurance cannot be overstated. Although “InsurTech” is relatively new, the sector has drawn significant attention from investors, as well as from established insurers, who are beginning to change their service models.  In response to changing consumer habits, especially for tech-savvy millennials, new innovations are emerging every day, with the goal of offering simpler products tailored to specific needs and a streamlined customer experience.  As Miami insurance law attorneys, we are following the InsurTech explosion with interest, both for its potential benefits to policyholders, as well as for the resulting industry disruption. What is InsurTech? The term “InsurTech” encompasses the innovative use of technology in insurance.  It is a subset of financial technology, or “FinTech,” which has transformed the banking world.  InsurTech is the technology that lies behind the creation, distribution and administration of insurance.  Smartphone apps, wearables, claims processing tools, online policy handling and automated processing are all InsurTech.  Much of the current InsurTech market involves start-ups targeting millennials, who are accustomed to instant gratification, by focusing on speed, efficiency, and cost reduction.  Examples include: Lemonade, whose motto is “instant everything,” Slice (“instant coverage for all”), and Hippo (“modern home insurance”). The success of these and other start-ups also relies on the demand for greater customization of insurance products, as well as the prevalence of the sharing economy.  For example, Airbnb hosts have created the need for limited commercial coverage, as opposed to a comprehensive commercial policy.  Pay-per-mile automobile insurance caters […]

What You Need to Know About Cyber Insurance

Fri Apr 5th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

It is impossible to turn on the news today without hearing about cyber security.  Data breaches and cyberattacks have become almost a constant threat.  As a Miami Insurance Law Firm, we have seen an increase in cyber liability.  And it is not just huge corporations that are targeted by cybercriminals.  Small businesses are also susceptible to events that can damage reputations and put customers and employees at risk.  One of a company’s most valuable assets is its data, and it is important to know that there are specific insurance products available that can not only provide the traditional risk transfer function but can also help your business identify cybersecurity gaps and opportunities for improvement. How is Cyber Liability Covered While many cyber liability claims are submitted under commercial general liability (CGL) policies, such claims can also trigger directors and officers (D&O), errors and omissions (E&O) and other policy types.  Typically, insurance companies argue that cyber liability, such as claims arising from data breaches involving sensitive customer information, is excluded from coverage under general liability policies.  Some insurers are adding cyber-specific exclusions to traditional insurance products.  Some courts have concluded that traditional polices do not cover cyber losses. Today, many insurance companies offer risk-specific cyber insurance policies designed to protect policyholders against data breaches and other cyber-related risks.  Roughly 30% of companies currently have some form of cyber insurance.  Coverage can protect against first party losses (direct losses to the policyholder) and third-party claims (policyholder liabilities to third parties).  First party […]

Recent Court Decisions Could Impact the Insurance Industry

Fri Mar 29th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

In two recent decisions, Florida’s highest court has issued significant rulings relating to insurance law.  In both cases, the Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the lower appellate court and upheld the decisions of the trial court, which were favorable to the policyholders.  As Miami insurance law attorneys, it is our job to stay up-to-date on important legal and regulatory developments in the industry, particularly those that may impact our insurance law practice. Court Supports Jury’s Finding of Bad Faith Against Insurer Harvey v. GEICO involved the application of the law of bad faith, which imposes a fiduciary obligation on an insurer to protect its insured from a judgment that exceeds the limits of the insured’s policy.  The case arose from a fatal car accident in which the insured driver had limited coverage ($100,000) under his liability policy.  GEICO resolved the liability issue against the insured and tendered the policy within days of the accident but failed to promptly cooperate with the request of the victim’s attorney for a statement from the driver concerning the extent of his assets.  The estate of the victim returned GEICO’s check and sued the driver for wrongful death, resulting in an $8 million verdict against the driver.  Mr. Harvey then brought a bad faith action against GEICO. During the bad faith trial, the lawyer for the estate testified that had he known that the driver’s only other asset was a business account worth approximately $85,000, he would not have filed suit and would have […]

How To Communicate With Your Insurance Company

Fri Mar 8th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Communicating with your insurance company can be challenging, particularly if you are in the middle of a crisis and need to report a claim.  Your emotions may be running high and you may not remember everything that is said in your initial conversation with the adjuster. What is more, you may say things about your claim in the heat of the moment that may be inaccurate or uninformed, as you may not have received any damage estimates.  Keep in mind that your calls with your insurance company are most likely recorded, so you want to avoid coming across as too emotional or too eager to settle under the insurer’s terms.  As Miami insurance law attorneys, we know how insurance companies work.  From documenting all your communications, to having the right attitude, how you communicate with your insurance company can impact how your claim is resolved.  Document Your Communications The most important thing to remember is to document every communication with your insurance company in a notebook or folder so you can easily keep track of the status of your claim.  Start collecting receipts and damage estimates as well and keep all of your notes and documents together in one place.  You should also create a paper trial by confirming what your insurance company has said by sending them a quick follow-up e-mail or letter.  This helps to avoid any misunderstandings about representations or promises made, whether about timing of the claims process or more substantive discussions about damage estimates and […]

Homeowner Claims: Know Your Basic Rights

Thu Feb 28th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

You may not know it, but if you have a Florida homeowner insurance policy, you have certain rights, as defined by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.  The FLOIR Bill of Rights sets forth a timeline for the claims process, as well as certain services you are entitled to.  The Bill of Rights also contains useful advice for claimants.  As a Miami Insurance law firm dedicated to representing the interests of policyholders, we are familiar with the Bill of Rights and the protections it outlines.  When to Expect a Response From Your Insurance Company When you report a claim to your insurance company, you have a right to receive an acknowledgment of the claim within 14 days.  Within 30 days after you submit a complete proof-of-loss statement to your insurance company, you have a right, upon written request, to receive confirmation that your claim is covered in full, partially covered, or denied, or receive a written statement that your claim is being investigated. Within 90 days, you have a right to receive full settlement payment for your claim or payment of the undisputed portion of your claim, or your insurance company’s denial of your claim. The Bill of Rights does state that there are exceptions to the timelines when conditions are “beyond your insurance company’s control.” What Services are Available to Assist You With Your Claim? Under most circumstances and subject to certain restrictions, you are entitled to free mediation of your disputed claim by the Florida Department of Financial […]

What Types of Insurance Should My Small Business Have?

Thu Feb 21st, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

There are many different types of insurance coverage available to small business owners.  Knowing what you need will depend on many factors, including the type of services or goods you provide, where your business is located, its corporate structure, and the applicable state laws.  As Miami Insurance Coverage Lawyers, we can help you navigate the many options, as well as evaluate whether your current coverage is adequate.  First, here’s a summary of the most common types of insurance for business owners.  General Liability Every business needs to have a liability insurance policy.  This policy, often referred to as The Commercial General Liability Policy (or “CGL”), provides coverage to a business for personal injury and property damage caused by the company’s operations or products, or personal injuries to third parties that occur on the company’s premises.  Many insurers use what is known as the standard Insurance Services Office CGL form.  Property If you own your office building or have business personal property, such as office equipment or computers, you should consider having a policy that will protect you in the event of fire or theft.  You may also want to consider including business interruption insurance to protect your earnings if the business is unable to operate because of property damage. Professional Liability This policy, also known as Errors and Omissions Insurance, provides defense and damages for failure to or improperly providing professional services.  This is different than your general liability policy.  Professional liability insurance applies to any professional firm, including lawyers, […]

Demystifying the Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy

Thu Feb 14th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

A Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy protects your business from financial loss stemming from injuries or property damage caused by your operations (or products) or personal injuries to third parties that occur on the company’s premises. It covers non-professional negligent acts, while professional negligent acts (such as malpractice) are covered under a Professional Liability policy. In addition, injuries to employees on company property are covered by workers’ compensation, not the CGL policy. When issuing general liability policies, many insurers use standard forms published by the Insurance Services Office (“ISO”). In addition to the convenience of using standard forms, insurers are able to reduce their risk because much of the language contained in the forms has already been interpreted by the courts. Indeed, how a court interprets an insurance policy will be based in large part on the policy wording itself. CGL policies must therefore be read carefully, paying close attention to the specific language used.  Unfortunately, what the policy actually says is not always so straight-forward and clear, and there are certain aspects of CGL coverage that are often misunderstood. This post seeks to demystifies those areas. Duty to Defend First, the wording of the ISO CGL will not allow an insurer to simply tender its policy limit and not defend an insured. This may come into play when a catastrophic event occurs involving multiple injuries or losses.  The insurer cannot simply pay the policy limit and refuse to defend the claim. The insured’s duty to defend does not end […]

Liability Insurers Have a Duty to Defend

Thu Jan 31st, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Miami Insurance Law Firm Liability insurance coverage is purchased to avoid the significant risks associated with a lawsuit, but insurance coverage does not always work out in a way that the policyholder might expect.  Insurers maximize their profits by minimizing their time investment and other costs.  It should therefore come as no surprise that liability insurers frequently deny coverage and skirt their plan-based responsibilities.  This can put the policyholder in an incredibly vulnerable position, particularly if they do not have the assets necessary to resolve their liabilities without coverage. Among the insurer’s responsibilities is the “duty to defend.”  Let’s take a closer look. Understanding the Duty to Defend Duty to Defend Requires Coverage Liability insurers are not required to step in and defend policyholders against third-party claims unless coverage would apply in the situation at-hand.  The legal duty only activates in situations where the insurer could be responsible for the damages. For example, suppose that you have purchased a marine liability insurance policy.  The policy precludes coverage in situations where you were intoxicated at the time of accident.  If your insurer is not “on the hook” for damages due to your intoxication, then they have no duty to defend you in litigation against the third-party claimant. Bad Faith Conduct In Florida, insurers may be held liable for their bad faith conduct in relation to the duty to defend.  Insurers may act in bad faith in a number of different ways, including the refusal to step in and defend their policyholder […]

Intentional Misconduct is Not Covered by Commercial General Liability Insurance

Thu Jan 17th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Miami Insurance Law Firm If you’re being sued by a third-party due to them having suffered injuries in an accident that could implicate your commercial general liability (CGL) insurance coverage, then you may find yourself facing new and unexpected challenges. Insurers have a tendency to deny claims when they can just barely justify doing so, even if they are making bold and unsupported assumptions.  In the CGL insurance context, this often happens with regard to intentional misconduct.  If the insurer can paint your behavior as intentional misconduct, and not merely negligence or recklessness, then they can legitimately deny your claim and avoid having to payout. Intentional misconduct is typically not covered by CGL insurance.  As such, the key to recovering your benefits is in clearly establishing that the conduct at-issue does not demonstrate intent. Intent Can Be Difficult to Prove Unless the circumstances clearly indicate an intent to violate the law or otherwise cause harm, then the insurer may find that painting a picture of your conduct as intentional is quite difficult.  For example, suppose that the defendant slips and injures themselves in your retail store.  Your insurer is refusing to payout for the damages, however, because they believe that the injury was caused by your intentional misconduct — that you wanted to hurt the customer, so you spilled water on the floor to cause them to slip and fall.  In order for the insurer to prove that you intentionally caused the injuries, they’d have to find evidence of your […]

Insurance Agents Do Not Have a Duty to Advise Policyholder With Regard to Coverage

Fri Nov 30th, 2018 on     Insurance Claims,    

If you’re experiencing issues with regard to making an insurance claim, then you might be wondering about the liability of the insurance agent who marketed and brokered the contract in the first place.  In the event that you were misled or otherwise misinformed by your insurance agent, Florida law may entitle you to bring an action against them for damages as compensation for your losses.  Under certain (limited) circumstances, a failure to advise you as to what would be “ideal” or “sufficient” coverage may also give rise to a cause of action for damages. Let’s take a closer look. No General Duty to Advise Insurance agents do not have a general duty to advise prospective policyholders on what coverage they should procure.  Simply put, an insurance agent’s failure to advise you on what sort of policy you should ideally acquire is not actionable — the insurance agent need only explain the details of coverage and exercise care when selecting such coverage (at the direction of the client). Exceptions exist, however. Special Relationship May Be Created Under Limited Circumstances In Florida, if the insurance agent created a special relationship with the prospective policyholder above and beyond that of a normal insurance agent — for example, if they offered insurance advisory services to the policyholder — then there may be a duty to properly advise the prospective policyholder on coverage.  Failure to exercise reasonable care in this regard could expose the insurance agent to significant liability. Confused?  Consider the following. Suppose that […]

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