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Does Your Insurance Cover You For Acts of Terrorism?

Terrorism is constantly in the headlines. To insurance geeks, these disasters raise insurance coverage questions. Here's a depressing one to ponder. If a terror attack destroys my house, my business, or even my city, will I have insurance coverage to help me recover?

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Hurricane Harvey: If Flood Isn't Covered, Then What Is?

Hurricane Harvey will be the most expensive natural disaster in US history, costing the economy about $190 billion. Most people instinctively think that insurance will assist homeowners and business owners to rebuild. But the typical insurance policy excludes damage caused by flood, surface water, waves, tidal water or overflow of a body of water. Learn what coverage arguments can be used to counter an insurance company's deny-first, ask-questions-later approach.

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Lack of Evidence Fatal to Personal Property Claim

When a fire totally destroys a structure, it is a daunting task to recall and list all the contents lost in the fire. Many insureds must rely solely on their memories to prepare a complete inventory, and memories are not infallible. Nguti v. Safeco Insurance Company dealt with the legal issues that arise in such a situation and the pitfalls that an insured must avoid.

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Vacating an Appraisal Award Based on Umpire Bias

Most appraisal awards result from the umpire siding with either the insurer's appraiser or the insured's appraiser. For this reason, both parties to the appraisal seek an umpire that they believe will be fair and impartial (or at least only partial to their side). In order for each party to be fully informed, a prospective umpire has a duty to disclose information that might demonstrate bias. Dickey v. Alterra America Insurance Company recently discussed the general rules governing disclosure.

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Appraisal Includes Determination of Causation

A typical appraisal provision says that the parties will agree to appraise the "amount of loss." Parties sometimes argue the "amount of loss" only applies to the valuation of the cost of the repairs, and not to the scope of the repairs or whether the needed repairs were caused by the covered peril. Walnut Creek Townhome Association v. Depositors Insurance Company illustrates the importance of appraisers understanding their role in determining the cause of a loss.

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What Are the Best and Worst Insurance Companies?

Since we deal with insurance companies on a daily basis, we are often asked this question. The answer varies depending on what you are looking for — lowest price, level of service, ease of claim handling — and even then the answer is very subjective. One objective measure of quality is the level of complaints registered against different companies with the Ohio Department of Insurance.

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Common Questions Regarding Fire Claims

You've just suffered loss in a fire — what should you do next? This concise, informative article by Bob Rutter answers numerous questions commonly asked by homeowners after a fire. Learn more about the role of fire contractors and insurance adjusters, and discover how your insurance company will likely approach repair or replacement.

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Understanding Your Professional Liability Policy

Professional liability policies — popularly referred to as malpractice or E&O policies — have some unique (i.e. tricky) provisions. This article by Bob Rutter with Al Stephens of Professional Liability Services explores the intricacies of "claims" as defined in a professional liability policy and offers an overview of how attorneys can increase the chances of being protected.

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A Lamb in Wolf's Clothing: The Insurer's Duty to Defend Business Torts

A standard Commercial General Liability policy provides personal injury coverage which, despite its name, has nothing to do with personal injury claims such as auto accidents or product liability suits. Instead, personal injury coverage provides indemnity — and, perhaps more importantly, a defense — for a wide array of business torts that practitioners may initially dismiss as uninsured claims. Learn more about this often overlooked benefit and discover how an insured should best proceed when facing litigation that might be covered by insurance.

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Fire Insurance Law

Fire victims are invariably in a very vulnerable position, needing immediate financial assistance to try to get their lives back in order. But what happens when the insurance company, instead of helping the fire victims as it had promised, turns on the victims and accuses them of arson? What rights do insureds have and how can they enforce those rights? And how can insureds left with virtually nothing after a severe fire successfully defend against an insurance company with unlimited resources? Bob Rutter shares insights gleaned from almost 30 years of experience successfully representing fire claim cases in this in-depth article about fire insurance law.

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Insurance Bad Faith in Ohio After Zoppo

Zoppo v. Homestead Insurance Company was a landmark Ohio Supreme Court decision clarifying the standard to be applied in determining whether an insurance company's actions constituted bad faith. Common grounds of bad faith against insurance companies include failing to adequately investigate a claim, exploiting the insured’s vulnerable financial condition, and unnecessarily delaying a claim's resolution. Explore the post-Zoppo legal landscape in Ohio in this article by Bob Rutter, the attorney who successfully argued the case before the court.

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Taming the ERISA Beast

ERISA was intended to benefit American workers by protecting their pensions. But legislatures and the courts have given ERISA control over almost all employee benefits, including employer-sponsored life, disability and health insurance. As a result, ERISA insurance claim denials are notoriously difficult to contest. Bob Rutter’s informative article surveys this complex area of insurance law and provides insight on how to contest claim denials when the odds are stacked against you.

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