Insurance Coverage & Liability

A recent New Jersey Appellate Division decision in Kohler v. Life Insurance Company of North America and Best Med Consultants, Inc., addressed a disability insurance carrier’s right to have a disability claimant examined through a so-called “independent medical examination (“IME”).”
Continue Reading Appropriateness of Independent Medical Examinations in LTD Claims

In response to concerns raised by the public, legislators, the Community Associations Institute and others, Congress recently passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. Signed by President Obama into law, the legislation forestalls significant increases in flood insurance premiums that were set to have taken effect.
Continue Reading Reprieve For Community Associations Located In High Risk Flood Areas

With the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy fast approaching, policyholders who sustained damage during the storm who have not yet settled their insurance claims, may be running up against some contractually imposed deadlines. Most insurance policies limit the time period within which an insured is permitted to file suit against an insurer for the insurer’s failure to provide benefits under the policy. Insurance policies are considered contracts, and normally in New Jersey an aggrieved party has up to six years to sue for an alleged breach of contract. However, parties are free to enter into contracts that contain terms which restrict rights that would otherwise be available to one party or the other. In the insurance context, policy provisions which limit the time period within which an insured is permitted to sue are found in virtually all policies.
Continue Reading The Impact of “Tolling” on Sandy Suit Deadlines

While Superstorm Sandy brought with it destructive winds and tidal surges, it also ushered in tides of change for New Jersey’s insurance market and regulatory scheme. Now that insurance company coverage decisions are starting to emerge, the New Jersey Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, codified as N.J.A.C. 11:2-17.1, et al., is in the spotlight. The Act is currently only enforceable by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance and action is typically only taken if a pattern of abuse is evident.
Continue Reading Post-Sandy “Bad Faith” Bill Targets Insurers

It is no surprise that legislation mandating changes to homeowners insurance in New Jersey has begun to make its way through Trenton following Superstorm Sandy. Most recently, a bill was signed into law which adds information to be included in the required Homeowners Insurance Consumer Information Brochure which accompanies new and renewal policies. The new law will require the inclusion of a one-page summary of the policy including “notable” coverages and exclusions, as determined by the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance.
Continue Reading Homeowners Insurance Policy Summary Will Be Required Post-Sandy

According to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, as of March 1, 2013, approximately 40% of flood-related Sandy claims are still unresolved. Many claims involve legal issues associated with the following circumstances, many of which we have seen in cases we are currently handling on behalf of insured policy – holders in the tri-state area:
Continue Reading Sandy Insurance Claims: Commonly Encountered Issues

The bad news is that costs increased when taxes rose in January. Interest rates may also rise. The good news is that for savvy landlords, there are some proactive strategies to improve the bottom line now with the help of sound legal counsel. Following are Stark & Stark’s top 10 tips for landlords to consider:
Continue Reading 10 Ways Landlords Can Cut Costs and Increase Income Now

While the State of New Jersey is reporting some impressive statistics regarding the number of non-flood related Sandy claims which have been closed (87% overall), the statistics likely provide little comfort for the unfortunate 13% with open Sandy claims who are still battling with their insurance companies.
Continue Reading Insurers with Unresolved Sandy Claims will be Subject to State Mandated Mediation