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Yearly Archives: 2020

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What Qualifies as a “Business Interruption” for Insurance Purposes?

Tue Mar 31st, 2020 on     Insurance Claims,    

If you’ve purchased business interruption (BI) insurance and are planning to submit a claim for benefits — or have already submitted a claim and have been denied — then you may be feeling somewhat confused by the ambiguity of coverage, and how that can be used by the insurance company to deny your claim. For example, you might have initially believed that your insurance covered you for man-made disasters (i.e., an arsonist-caused fire), only to discover that the plan only covers natural disasters. Quite simply, when policyholders sign up to business interruption insurance plans, they often perceive the coverage to be broader and more comprehensive than the narrow definitions that the insurance company later applies.  In part, this information disparity is intentional.  By marketing basic plans as more comprehensive than they actually are, the insurance company can sell a plan to budget-strapped customer. It’s important to recognize that you do not have to accept the adverse determinations made by an insurance company.  In many cases, insurers deny, delay, or undervalue claims in the hopes that the policyholder will be too pre-occupied (recovering from the disaster and the business interruption itself) and will therefore resign themselves to the decision. We can help you secure the benefits you’re owed.  Here at Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A., our team is committed to pursuing any and all potential avenues for benefits recovery, whether through an internal claims appeal process or trial litigation.  Contact our experienced Miami insurance law firm for guidance. Business interruption coverage […]

Construction Defects Must Trigger Property Damage for Coverage Under Florida Insurance Law

Tue Mar 17th, 2020 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

Leading Insurance Law Firm in Miami, FL Homeowners’ insurance coverage can often lead to confusion down the line when policyholders are attempting to secure a payout after having experienced property damage to their home.  As with other types of insurance plans, homeowner’s insurance payouts are manipulated cleverly by insurance companies to minimize their liabilities — wherever possible (so long as the language of the plan supports it, and even when it doesn’t), the insurance company will attempt to argue against coverage. Here at Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A., our attorneys can help.  We are highly engaged with clients throughout the claims process, from submitting an initial claim to navigating the internal appeals hearing, to litigating the case in Florida courts.  Over the years, we have seen how insurance companies bully policyholders into accepting a denial, delay, or undervalued claim payout.  Homeowners are already under significant pressure when they are dealing with property damage, and the additional problems created by an adverse insurance decision can lead many policyholders to simply “give up.”  It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, but it’s important that you keep your head held high and that you work with a Miami insurance law firm that will doggedly pursue your rights. Among the many arguments put forth by insurance companies — in the homeowners’ insurance context — is that they do not have to payout because the “property damage” at issue does not qualify as such pursuant to the plan language.  Instead, they may argue that the damage is […]

What are “Endorsements” in a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

Fri Feb 28th, 2020 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

When you buy homeowner’s insurance, you don’t expect it to cover everything. But, you might expect it to cover more than it actually does. While homeowner’s policies often start with broad coverage language, this language is subject to a laundry list of exclusions; and, in order to have these excluded perils covered, homeowners must pay extra for “endorsements.” Which Endorsements Should Florida Homeowners Choose? In the context of insurance, an endorsement is additional coverage for something that falls outside of the standard policy language. Endorsements are available for many (but not all) exclusions, and individual homeowners’ needs will vary. The following are examples of common exclusions for which endorsements are available: Scheduled Personal Property – If the value of your personal property (the items in your home) exceeds the standard coverage under your policy, then you may need a scheduled personal property endorsement. The term “scheduled” references the fact that the types of personal property covered will be listed as a schedule to the standard policy (homeowners should be sure to review this schedule carefully). Personal Property Replacement Cost – Standard homeowner’s insurance policies pay the “actual cash value” of personal property damaged in storms and other casualty events. The personal property replacement cost endorsement provides coverage for the cost of repair or replacement without a depreciation reduction. Inflation Guard – As inflation increases the cost of rebuilding your home, your standard policy limits can become insufficient. As its name implies, the inflation guard endorsement is designed to ensure that […]

Hurricane Preparedness: State and Federal Government Resources

Fri Feb 21st, 2020 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will soon be upon us and it is important for homeowners to be prepared. As we’ve learned in past years, it only takes one storm to cause widespread devastation, and homeowners who take steps to get ready will be in the best position to begin the recovery process as quickly possible. Are you ready? Here are seven hurricane preparedness resources from the State of Florida, various U.S. federal government agencies and the National Hurricane Survival Initiative: 7 Free Hurricane Preparedness Resources 1. Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) Hurricane Preparedness Tools FEMA’s website provides a number of tools that homeowners can use to prepare for hurricane season. From creating an emergency communication plan to checking your insurance coverage, these tools provide practical tips for making sure you are ready. 2. National Weather Service Hurricane Preparedness Information The National Weather Service maintains current hurricane forecast information on its website as well as information about hurricane safety and resources for putting together a personalized disaster preparedness plan. 3. U.S. Coast Guard: Make Your Safety Plans in Advance The U.S. Coast Guard is urging all homeowners to make safety plans in advance, and has published a number of useful, easy-to-ready graphics that homeowners can use to make sure they have taken the necessary steps to prepare for a potential hurricane. 4. Ready.gov Hurricane Seasonal Preparedness Digital Toolkit Ready.gov is the official disaster preparedness website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Here, you will find a comprehensive toolkit which […]

Seven Tips for Filing a Business Interruption Insurance Claim

Fri Feb 14th, 2020 on     Insurance Claims,    

When a hurricane, fire or other disaster damages your business, filing a business interruption insurance claim may be your only option to cover your company’s expenses during the repairs. If you cannot sell because your systems are down or your facilities are inaccessible, business interruption insurance can provide the income replacement you need to stay afloat you go through the rebuilding process. If you purchased “extended” coverage, your policy will cover your business losses for a period after you reopen as well. So, you purchased business interruption insurance, and now you need to use it. What do you do? 1. Contact Your Insurance Company. First, you should file a claim with your business interruption insurer right away. Generally speaking, you want to get your claim on file as soon as possible after the interruption occurs – so it is clear that all ensuing losses relate to the interruption and not another, non-insured issue. 2. Make Sure You Know What is Covered. At this point, you need to sit down with your business interruption insurance policy and make sure you know what is covered. Read through your policy carefully, and seek legal advice where you have questions. Insureds often run into issues with their insurers denying valid claims or misrepresenting the terms of their policies, and you do not want to let bad-faith insurance practices get in the way of your business’s recovery. 3. Take Appropriate Steps to Mitigate the Damage. This can get tricky with business interruption insurance; but, after […]

Protecting Your Rights as an Insured Homeowner: A Step-By-Step Guide

Fri Feb 7th, 2020 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

If your home has been damaged in a storm, there are several important steps you need to take to protect your rights against your insurance company. This step-by-step guide will help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your homeowner’s insurance or flood insurance claim. 1. Make Sure You and Your Loved Ones are Safe. First and foremost, safety should be your top priority. No amount of hassle with your insurance company is worth putting your (or anyone else’s) life at risk. Comply with any mandatory evacuation orders, follow the instructions of emergency personnel and first responders, and make sure you are safely out of harm’s way before you start thinking about your insurance claim. 2. Contact Your Insurance Company. Once it is safe to do so, you should contact your insurance company and file your claim. If the storm caused widespread damage, you can expect delays; and, the sooner you get started, the sooner you can expect a resolution. Make sure you have your policy number and policy documents handy (most major insurance companies have apps that allow you to access your policy information on your phone). 3. Cautiously Inspect Your Home. Once it is safe to do so, you should try to inspect your home. Be careful while doing so, and keep a safe distance from potential hazards such as electrical wires, gas lines and damaged building materials overhead. Take photos with your phone (try to be as comprehensive as possible), and follow up with your insurer if any […]

Unique Health Insurance Coverage Issues

Fri Jan 31st, 2020 on     FAQs,    

Experienced Miami Health Insurance Lawyer   In the healthcare context, the insured are often surprised by the denial of their claims, and perhaps not unreasonably — when signing up for coverage, prospective policyholders are often sold an “ideal” of comprehensive coverage.  In essence, they are made to feel safe and secure.  The truth is substantially more complicated. Insurance companies will use any available justification to deny a claim.  This is particularly exacerbated in healthcare situations where the insured is seeking out alternative care, or even experimental care. We can help you secure the benefits you’re owed. Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A. is a Miami-based insurance litigation firm with decades of experience representing the interests of policyholders, and in a variety of disputes — including those that center around healthcare claim denials.  We are a practical, detail-oriented firm that is relentless in securing a favorable result.  Over the years, we have obtained numerous multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients. Unlike many of our insurance litigation competitors, we have spent a significant amount of time in the courtroom, navigating the hostile battlefield that characterizes a traditional lawsuit. As such, we have the reputation necessary to put pressure on insurance companies to resolve the dispute early (and in a manner that is satisfactory to our client).  Insurers understand that if they do not demonstrate good faith in attempting to resolve the dispute painlessly, then we have the willingness and ability to challenge them in the courtroom. Ready to speak to […]

Insurance Broker Malpractice FAQs

Fri Jan 17th, 2020 on     FAQs,    

Work With a Skilled Miami Insurance Litigation Lawyer   Insurance claim denials often come as a surprise to policyholders who were led to believe that their coverage is more comprehensive than it is in reality.  In fact, this is not an uncommon scenario — an insurance policyholder is attempting to secure benefits on a claim when they discover that some exclusion (or other provision) in the insurance plan prevents recovery.  If the policyholder obtained such coverage through an insurance agent or broker who misled them somehow, whether through an incorrect disclosure or through a failure to disclose certain information, then an actionable claim may arise under the law. As a policyholder — lacking a detailed understanding of the various plan offerings and how they differ from one another — it can be frustrating to put your trust into an insurance broker or agent, only to discover that they were negligent in their responsibilities, or worse, that they intentionally misrepresented information so as to induce you into signing up for an insurance plan. This informational asymmetry — whether created by mere negligence or out of an intentional desire to defraud the policyholder — happens a lot more often than the public may realize.  In the event that you find yourself having been taken advantage of by an insurance broker, it’s important to understand that you are not without legal options.  Florida law protects policyholders who have suffered losses (i.e., claim denial) due to the misconduct of an insurance broker or agent. […]

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