Let’s face it – we all buy insurance hoping we will never need it, but when a situation arises and a claim needs to be filed, many are at a total loss about how to proceed. The following information from our Founding Partner Edward Acle should help answer some of your most basic questions and property damage insurance claims. If you have additional questions or need assistance filing a claim or resolving a dispute with your insurance carrier, call Acle Law at 305-447-4667 or visit aclelaw.com for an absolutely free and confidential consultation.

 

What does a public adjuster do?

An insurance claim adjuster investigates a claim to determine whether coverage applies and the value of the claim. Insurance company adjusters and independent adjusters work for the insurance company and have the insurer’s interests in mind first. A Public Adjuster works for the policyholder and is committed to advocating on their behalf. A public adjuster will usually provide immediate assistance to help mitigate your loss, secure your claim, fulfill obligations under your policy, preserve evidence and guide you through the necessary steps in order to comply with your existing policy. A public adjuster also measures and documents your loss, but is uninfluenced by the insurance company’s profitability and will subsequently prepare and adjust your claim specifically on your behalf.

 

Do you need a public adjuster?

The short answer is typically yes. A public adjuster’s complete damage analysis can help you fully recover your losses. Public adjusters are expertly trained and since their fees are contingent on the amount of reimbursement you get from your carrier, public adjusters are motivated to obtain the most accurate, comprehensive and fastest recovery possible. If you rely solely on your insurance carrier’s adjuster, you run the serious risk of your claim being undervalued or underpaid. At Acle Law, we pride ourselves on working with some of the best public adjusters in the whole state of Florida.

 

Why do I need a Miami property insurance attorney?

A public adjuster can only do so much. An attorney, however, has all the legal tools and experience necessary to achieve the very best result for a client, which include litigating in court if necessary. Public adjusters are fully aware of what they can and cannot do, and when they are unable to achieve what they know to be a full or fair resolution, many times they will refer the case to us.

 

What should you do in the event of property loss?

As a policyholder, it’s vitally important that you keep current on your premium payments in order to maintain a valid policy in case you ever need it. In the event you do need to make a claim, it’s your responsibility to notify your carrier promptly about the loss and to cooperate with their investigation. Each policy is unique, but generally you’ll be required to do the following:

 

  • Provide prompt notice of loss to your insurer
  • Call the police if foul play is suspected or involved
  • Submit a signed, sworn proof of loss statement as required by your insurer
  • Give a description of the circumstances surrounding your loss
  • Prepare an inventory of damaged property
  • Take reasonable steps to mitigate the damage
  • Allow the insurer to inspect the property
  • Cooperate in any investigation
  • Keep the insurer informed of changed or other developments

 

What steps should you take before disaster strikes?

The first thing you should do is make sure you’ve purchased an adequate amount of insurance to cover your personal or business property. The next step is to create an accurate record of the property and items you are protecting, which may include taking pictures or video and making backups of important business records.

 

Just remember, our experienced attorneys at Acle Law will walk you through the terms of your insurance policy and provide representation in any dispute in Florida where your insurer is denying, delaying or under-paying your claim. Call our Miami property insurance claim attorneys at the Acle Law Firm today at 305-447-4667 or visit Acle Law for a free consultation.

The implications of business interruption insurance coverage across the Miami business community is causing unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety during the COVID-19 quarantine in South Florida. As businesses and carriers across all verticals review policies for possible coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, questions are falling into a few predictable buckets of coverage, including: 

  • Workers Compensation
  • Property Damage
  • Event Cancellation
  • Supply Chain Interruption
  • Business Interruption
  • General Liability

Today, Acle Law is specifically focusing on business interruption. Clients of the firm continue to reach into their files to review what losses related to the pandemic may be covered while insurance carriers continue to review those same policies to determine what claims to expect. Both regulators and litigators will be impacted for many years to come on this singular issue because to say the Coronavirus outbreak is paramount to a catastrophic event is a gross understatement. Insurers are bracing for potential worldwide losses at a magnitude never seen before.

 

Business Interruption Insurance

The most direct loss felt by most businesses during the quarantine has been and will continue to be business interruption. It’s caused by a variety of factors including an ill workforce, government mandates, supply chain disruption, customer loss or a combination of all of the above. Part of most business commercial property coverage requires some kind of physical loss to the premise to trigger business interruption coverage. This requirement is triggering many questions about what physical loss looks like in the age of COVID-19 pandemic.

 

That’s why it’s important that you have an expert review your policy to help you best determine what is covered. At Acle Law, our experienced attorneys have been pouring over dozens of small and large business policies across South Florida to help determine a best course of action. It’s important to remember that insurance is not a “commodity,” which means that no two policies are likely the same. The language in each individual policy will determine your ability to recover a claim.

 

Some policies include business interruption for contagious diseases, but many will likely exclude coverage for losses caused by a pandemic, partially in response to previous outbreaks of SARS and H1N1. Again, each policy needs to be carefully reviewed to determine when coverage may be allowed and what facts are present for each instance.

 

The Law and Regulations

As business losses mount, it’s critical to review the actions taken by the State of Florida, Departments of Insurance and the federal government as approaches so far have vacillated between protecting the solvency of insurers to mandating payments of business interruption insurance, even when such coverage was not written into the policies.  

 

It remains to be seen where federal and state governments will land on this issue, but the discussion will continue for quite a while, even after certain definitive action has been taken. In the meantime, insureds have not waited for guidance, and litigation has already begun.

 

We don’t know what the coming days and months will bring, but Acle Law will be here whenever you need us. We may be a team of property insurance lawyers, but we’re people first. We are your neighbors in your community and we’re in this with you. Call our Miami property insurance claim attorneys at the Acle Law Firm today at 305-447-4667 or visit Acle Law for a free consultation.

 

 

Many businesses across South Florida are being told by insurers that your business interruption policy does not cover events related to the COVID-19 pandemic, because either the policy specifically excludes pandemics or viruses, or there has not been actual “property loss.” Our team at Acle Law has researched and assembled what a complaint against an insurer might look like regarding the latter, and we believe strong arguments can be made that in fact coverage does exist.  

 

No matter your business type, we are all facing dire circumstances due to the pandemic. Closures, local and statewide shelter-in-place orders, and strict social distancing regulations are impacting our entire economy and way of life. As a result, South Florida policyholders are facing the dilemma of whether to make a claim against their business interruption insurance policy in light of the government’s forced closure of non-essential businesses.

 

If your policy excludes pandemics, epidemics or viruses, you likely will face an uphill battle to obtain coverage absent of any legislation to address pandemic-related exclusions. Certain states are considering this already and we expect more to follow. However, insurers and their lobbying groups will certainly mount constitutional challenges to any such legislation.  

 

If your policy doesn’t exclude pandemics, then typically a successful claim requires physical damage to your property that has causes the interruption to your business. The question before the courts and the legal system now is “has the COVID-19 pandemic caused physical damage to property? Some courts have held that contaminants or pollution could fulfill this “physical damage” requirement, but more in-depth analysis of your policy’s language is needed to see whether COVID-19 is sufficient enough to bring forth a claim.

 

Our attorneys at Acle Law are urging policyholders to be proactive and aggressive in pursuing business interruption coverage. Some immediate steps you can take include:

 

  • Carefully review the language of your policy to determine whether exclusions are present or not.
  • Collect and maintain proof of interruption/loss – document all relevant government communication and executive orders, financial losses, and remediation costs while maintaining a log of all individuals that enter and exit your premises (including all deliveries).
  • Work with your attorney to carefully draft your claim prior to submission to ensure the language is sufficiently broad enough to better your chances of receiving coverage.
  • In the event you are denied coverage, work with an attorney to evaluate whether to litigate. And remember, typical policies will have a statute of limitations for filing a claim.

 

We don’t know what the coming days and months will bring, but Acle Law will be here whenever you need us. We may be a team of property insurance lawyers, but we’re people first. Your neighbors in your community and we’re in this with you. Call our Miami property insurance claim attorneys at the Acle Law Firm today at 305-447-4667 or visit Acle Law for a free consultation.

 

 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a swirling storm of chaos across the globe, and with any crisis – just like the hurricanes we experience in South Florida – there are people looking to exploit confusion for their own profit. Some are creating false storefronts and offering hard-to-find items that once paid for, never get delivered. Others are creating schemes via text messages, emails, apps or phone calls. Some of the below are even spreading as fast as the virus itself. As a South Florida consumer, be weary of these and many other scams out there. Stick to trusted sources in times like these.

 

The Friend of the Friend in the CDC

You’ve probably already seen this pop up in your social media feeds or in a group WhatsApp chat – it’s the friend of the friend who has an aunt, cousin or someone they know that works for the government and has inside information about the disease, a vaccine, homemade remedy or details on a lack of essential services. It’s not true. Remain skeptical of panic inducing messages from obscure sources. Focus on facts from reputable news outlets only.

 

Government Checks

Many Americans will receive their $1,200 from the government in the next few weeks while small businesses are actively pursuing the new PPL loans that became available. But anyone that calls you asking for your social security number, bank account or credit card number is looking to scam you. The federal government will not ask you personally for this, unless you are small business and filling out the appropriate PPL forms from your accredited lender. You will not be asked to pay anything up front in order to receive funds.

 

Vaccine Reservations

All scientific evidence indicates that the potential for a vaccine available to the general public is still probably 12 – 18 months away. In the meantime, scammers are out there posing as the CDC, knocking on doors claiming to be with the World Health Organization and other official entities asking for a deposit on a vaccine reservation. The problem is there is no vaccine reservation program and there will never be. Do not give out your personal information to anyone.

 

Phishing

Even during normal times, phishing is a problem. This is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising oneself as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. With Coronavirus, the phishing problem has been exacerbated. Now more than ever, do not click on links or files unless you know 100 percent what’s in the file and from whom it originated. One in particular is linked to COVID-19 tracking maps. Don’t click on those. You’re better off going directly to the Florida Department of Health or the CDC’s website for your information.   

 

As we all work together as a global community to mitigate the dynamic COVID-19 crisis through social distancing, limiting travel and reducing person-to-person contact, South Florida businesses are understandably concerned about the financial impact it is having on their operations.

 

Fortunately, local Miami businesses can try and proactively manage their Coronavirus exposure now by carefully reviewing existing policies to determine whether you have adequate coverage for COVID-19 or other infectious disease related losses.

 

Business Interruption Insurance

Business interruption insurance may respond with coverage for this type of income loss. Typically purchased as part of a company’s commercial property insurance policy, business interruption insurance is intended to protect businesses against income losses sustained as a result of disruptions to their operations. Contingent business interruption coverage similarly provides insurance for financial losses resulting from disruptions to a business's customers or suppliers, usually requiring that the underlying cause of damage to the customer or supplier be of a type covered with respect to the business's own property. 

 

Business interruption insurance is usually triggered when the policyholder sustains some sort of direct physical loss or damage to an insured property by a covered cause of loss. COVID-19 related business loss claims may be disputed as carriers will argue whether this “physical loss” requirement has been met. This is why it’s important to have an experienced property insurance attorney on your side.

 

There is no uniform rule for when an insured property has suffered a physical loss. Many courts have determined that contamination that renders a property uninhabitable or unfit for its intended use constitutes a loss that is adequate to trigger business interruption coverage. The determination of physical loss is the key component to this and will require close examination by an attorney to determine the factors in your case.

 

Additionally, many commercial property insurance policies provide coverage for business income loss due to “civil authority” that prohibits or impairs access to your business. It depends on the wording in your contract, which is another reason it’s a good idea to have a property insurance attorney review your existing policy with you.

 

In conclusion, your scope of coverage will ultimately depend on the specific language of your insurance policy. South Florida businesses interested in proactively managing their COVID-19 exposure should be reviewing their policies now. Call Acle Law now at 305-447-4667 or visit aclelaw.com to schedule an absolutely free and private consultation with our business interruption specialists.

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 represents one of the most significant global public health crises in the last century and is causing major disruptions and unprecedented unpredictability in markets, businesses and economies.

Like many of our clients, we at Acle Law operate across all of Florida and grasp the speed at which the current situation continues develop. Businesses and residents of Florida across every industry and demographic are facing new challenges as the future remains in flux. One thing is for certain however – this will eventually pass.

 Some of the most important considerations that we as Floridians are facing in the meantime may include:

  • Comply with the law and advice set forth by federal, state and local officials designed to safeguard residents and employees and mitigate the spread of the disease.
  • Implement travel restrictions and social distancing policies to protect the health of your neighbors and the safety of our Florida workforce.
  • Evaluate the impact of legal requirements and policies including your insurance position.
  • Adopt, revise and if necessary, implement continuity, succession and other relevant policies and plans.
  • Evaluate the availability of business interruption, property, casualty and other forms of insurance.
  • Project the financial impact of COVID-19 on your business and personal wealth and adjust budgets and expenditures to manage your resources accordingly.
  • Talk to your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family. We’re stronger unified than divided.

Acle Law remains committed to actively advising clients on these and other urgent legal matters. We are deeply committed to the South Florida community we call home and the safety and well-being of our clients and our people is paramount. As a South Florida law firm with more than 20 years of experience in disaster litigation, our team is on hand and well-suited to help guide you and your business through this uncertain time. Please contact your Acle Law partner at 305-447-4667 or visit aclelaw.com should you have any questions or require any legal advice on any Florida property COVID-19 issues.

With so many condominium buildings dotting the South Florida landscape and with new towers going up – it’s important that every condo owner has comprehensive liability coverage. On occasion, your homeowner’s association (HOA) may provide this, but if you own the unit, then it's more than likely you’ll need to secure your own. And even if your HOA does provide coverage, make sure you review the terms carefully to fully understand what happens if a leak ever develops.

 

In the world of insurance claims, relatively few cases are cut and dry. A situation can escalate quickly in a condominium if a leak occurs and originates from another tenant’s unit. It’s hard to know exactly what to do when all of a sudden water makes it way into your home because it’s difficult to determine its origin.

 

Immediately file a claim

The first thing you should do no matter what is reach out to your insurance carrier and open up a claim. You may need to work with your HOA as well. Insurance claims become more complicated when multiple parties are in play and that’s why you need to start the process right away.

 

Work with an experienced property insurance attorney

Insurance claims and the potential for litigation can become a complex process, which can overwhelm even the savviest of homeowners. That’s why it’s important that you contact an experienced Miami property insurance law firm to help guide you through the process in order to maximize your claim.

 

Begin the investigation phase

Next your liability insurance carrier and your attorney will begin an investigation to determine fault. For example, if an upstairs neighbor left their water running, then they will be held primarily at fault. If the leak began inside the wall, your insurance company will investigate your HOA to see if it correctly maintained the plumbing fixtures over the years.

 

Be patient

With multiple party claims, it’s possible that it could take a while before you receive reimbursement for your damages. Be patient and work with your attorney.

 

Our experienced attorneys at Acle Law will walk you through the terms of your insurance policy and provide representation in any dispute in Florida where your insurer is denying, delaying or under-paying your claim. Call our Miami property insurance claim attorneys at Acle Law today at 305-447-4667 or visit Acle Law for a free consultation.

 

By their own accord, property insurance carriers are risk-averse. While they certainly want their customers to receive compensation for property loss or damage, they also cancel policies when they believe there has been a breach of contract. Understanding ahead of time why your property insurance policy may be cancelled will help you avoid any potential issues in the future.

 

Too many claims on any particular policy are always going to be red flag. In many cases, your carrier may feel that continuing to provide coverage on your property poses too much of a risk. Some things you can look out for include whether all the claims are linked to a single occurrence or due to multiple events? You also have to take into consideration the cost of each claim. No matter the circumstance, it’s always good to check with an experiences Miami property insurance lawyer in order to determine what your best course of action is.

 

If your claims resulted from certain factors that have since been addressed, you can make the argument to your carrier that the underlying issues have been corrected. Work can also be done to your property to make it safer to mitigate the prospects of your insurance company cancelling your policy. For example, you can improve your roof, windows or plumbing to reduce the chances of further accidents from occurring.

 

If you plan on making renovations or repairs to your property, you must advise your insurer first. Adding square footage or changing the value of your home will likely affect your policy and premiums. Changes to your policy may be needed to ensure that it fully covers your property after repairs or additions are made. If you do not inform your carrier, you run the risk of cancellation.

 

Furthermore, your policy will also be cancelled if you falsify information on your contract, fail to make monthly payments or make fraudulent claims about damage to your property or home.

 

These are just some of the many reasons why an insurance carrier may potentially cancel your property insurance. Our experienced attorneys at Acle Law will walk you through the terms of your insurance policy and provide representation in any dispute in Florida where your insurer is denying, delaying or under-paying your claim. Call our Miami property insurance claim attorneys at the Acle Law Firm today at 305-447-4667 or visit Acle Law for a free consultation.

 

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