News & Resources

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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. […]

Commercial General Liability Policies and the Duty to Defend

Tue Dec 31st, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Experienced Insurance Litigation Lawyer in Miami, FL Many Commercial General Liability (CGL) policyholders assume that their insurer will necessarily jump to their defense and provide the services that are required under their CGL policy.  The reality can be sobering.  Insurers will do everything they can to avoid additional losses, and this includes aggressive attempts to avoid having to engage their duty to defend the policyholder against third-party claims.  If the insurer is successful, this can put the policyholder in an unenviable position, forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for their own defense in the ensuing lawsuit. CGL policies typically include a duty-to-defend provision that compels the insurer to step in and handle your defense in the event of third-party litigation.  But how do these obligations work, exactly? Understanding the Duty to Defend CGL insurers (where the policy includes a duty-to-defend) are obligated to handle their policyholder’s defense, and in some cases, to indemnify the policyholder if the case leads to damages. In many cases, however, insurers fail these obligations: The insurer may argue that the claims at-issue are not entitled to coverage under the policy, and may refrain from providing a defense on that basis; or The insurer may handle your defense but may not perform their obligations reasonably under the circumstances. With respect to (a), it’s worth noting that an insurer’s obligation to defend is based on the allegations in a lawsuit.  The insurer must provide a defense in the lawsuit even if there is only one allegation that is […]

Issues in Professional E&O Insurance Coverage

Fri Nov 15th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Experienced Insurance Litigation Lawyer in Miami, FL If you’ve been sued for professional malpractice and are presumably covered by a professional errors & omissions (E&O) insurance plan, then you may be surprised to discover that — in the wake of the aforementioned third-party lawsuit — your insurer is engaged in various attempts to avoid having to payout for your liabilities, and to avoid having to possibly defend you in the underlying action.  This can put you in a rather vulnerable position, as the financial ramifications could put a serious damper on your continued professional success, and a loss in the malpractice suit could have long-term consequences for your reputation in your particular industry. It’s critical that you consult a qualified attorney for guidance on how to proceed, so that you can secure that which you are entitled to.  Contact an experienced Miami insurance litigation lawyer here at Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A., who can help you take action against the insurance company and compel them to follow-through on their obligations under the E&O policy. As you explore the possibility of litigation, it’s worth exploring some of the more common issues faced by policyholders in E&O insurance disputes.  Identifying the issues will enable you and your attorney to develop a solid strategic plan at an early stage. Claim Timing and Reporting Conditions Most E&O policies require that the covered third-party malpractice claim be made during the policy period itself (and some require additional procedural conditions, such as serving notice to the […]

Challenges Facing Policyholders in the Context of Business Interruption Insurance

Thu Oct 31st, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Experienced Insurance Law Attorneys in Miami, FL Business Interruption (BI) insurance pays out for losses due to certain covered events, typically large-scale disasters, such as floods and fires.  BI coverage is absolutely critical for businesses operating in disaster-prone states like Florida — even where the risk of a natural or manmade disaster is low, however, comprehensive BI insurance coverage can protect you in the wake of an event that might otherwise have the cumulative effect of shuttering or relocating the business itself. As with all insurance coverage, BI providers are quick to look for “outs” in the policy language (or in the circumstances surrounding the disastrous event) so that they can avoid having to payout, or at the very least, so that they can minimize their expected payout.  This is particularly common in the BI insurance context, however, as the losses tend to be more ambiguous in nature — insurers attempt to gain leverage by underestimating their liabilities whenever possible. Here at Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A., we have extensive experience handling BI insurance coverage disputes on behalf of policyholders.  We are detail-oriented litigators who invest significant time and attention towards investigating the circumstances central to the coverage dispute, which gives us a significant edge in the BI insurance context (where the determination of a business interruption loss demands a comprehensive assessment of financial records, tax returns, and projected income).  If you’d like to learn more about your case and what the next steps might be, we encourage you to […]

Product Liability Lawsuit FAQs

Mon Sep 30th, 2019 on     Insurance Law,    

Experienced Insurance Litigation Lawyer in Miami, FL If you are operating a business in which you could be sued, or have been sued, for distributing a defective product, then you may be facing significant liability.  In fact, product liability disputes are so disruptive that they can bring business to a standstill if you are unprepared for defending against potentially hundreds of claims. Typically, businesses purchase comprehensive insurance plans that cover their commercial products.  The mere fact that you’ve purchased such a plan is not necessarily a guarantee of real-world coverage, however.  Particularly in cases where the insurer could be exposed to significant costs for handling the defense, the insurer will look for various “outs” to avoid having to engage their duties under the policy.  They may argue that a coverage exclusion applies, for example, or that your policy was not active at the time of the incident. We understand that product liability disputes can be confusing, and as such, we encourage you to contact Ver Ploeg & Marino, P.A. to consult with an experienced Miami insurance litigation lawyer at our firm. Before you speak to one of our attorneys, however, you may have some questions about product liability and insurance denials.  Let’s take a brief look at some common concerns that clients have. Frequently Asked Questions Q: What is the difference between a Claims-Based and an Occurrence-Based policy? Your insurance policy will either be claims-based or occurrence-based, and this could have a significant impact on whether you are eligible for […]

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