When and Why Government Plans are not Governed by ERISA

Posted in: Bad Faith, Breach of Contract, Church Plans, Disability Insurance, ERISA, Health Insurance, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog, Insurance Questions and Concepts, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Property & Casualty Insurance February 24, 2017

The McKennon Law Group PC periodically publishes articles on its California Insurance Litigation Blog that deal with related issues in a series of articles dealing with insurance bad faith, life insurance, long-term disability and short-term disability insurance, annuities, accidental death insurance, ERISA, and other areas of the law.  To speak with a highly skilled Los Angeles long-term disability insurance lawyer at the McKennon Law Group PC, call (949)387-9595 for a free consultation or visit our website at www.mckennonlawgroup.com and complete a free consultation form.

Determining what law governs your health, life, or disability insurance claim is the first step in the process of defending a wrongfully denied claim.  Generally speaking, if you have a denied life, disability or health insurance …

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Robert McKennon and Scott Calvert Publish Article: Insurers turn to Drones

Posted in: Disability Insurance, ERISA, Insurance Litigation Blog, Legal Articles, News Blog, Property & Casualty Insurance October 19, 2016

In the October 18, 2016 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, Robert McKennon and Scott Calvert of the McKennon Law Group published an article regarding the use of drones by insurance companies in their insurance claims investigations.  In the article entitled “Insurers Turn to Drones,” Mr. McKennon and Mr. Calvert explained that insurers are increasingly using drones as part of the insurance claims handling/investigation process, including disability insurance claims, but noted the use of drones is regulated by a series of Federal, State and local laws.  In addition, the article noted that courts are increasingly questioning the use of and reliance on surveillance by insurance companies in ERISA and non-ERISA insurance cases.…

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Would You Believe that an Insurer’s Policy Violates the “Efficient Proximate Cause” Doctrine? Believe it!

Posted in: Case Updates, Homeowners Insurance, Insurance Litigation Blog, Property & Casualty Insurance February 11, 2016

A homeowners’ insurance policy does not always mean what it says.  That is, in effect, what the California Court of Appeal recently concluded in Vardanyan v. AMCO Ins. Co., 243 Cal. App. 4th 779 (2015), a case involving the well-established “efficient proximate cause” doctrine.  The insurer’s policy explicitly stated it did not cover property damage caused by collapse of a building unless the collapse was caused “only by” hidden decay, hidden insect damage or a couple other listed perils.  Although the collapse was caused in part by non-listed perils that were excluded by the policy, the Court of Appeal still concluded the loss should be covered if the jury on remand decides one of the listed perils is the …

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“Slimy Conduct That Gives Insurance Companies a Bad Name:” Some Quotes from Judge Alex Kozinski

Posted in: Disability Insurance News, Insurance Litigation Blog, Policy Interpretation, Property & Casualty Insurance, Uncategorized June 03, 2015

We do not normally focus on dissents in our blogging but we made an exception here with a published Per Curiam opinion from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Guam Industrial Services, Inc. v. Zurich American Insurance Co., 2015 DJDAR 5948 (9th Cir. June 1, 2015).  This insurance coverage case arose out of the sinking of a dry dock, loaded with barrels of oil, during a typhoon on Guam. The issues pertain to whether either of two insurance policies covered costs of damage to the dock and the associated cleanup which was accomplished before any of the oil leaked out of the containers into the Pacific Ocean. Guam Industrial Services, Inc. (“Guam Industrial”) owned the dry dock.  At the …

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What’s a Policyholder to Do? California Court Permits “Conditional Judgment” Awarding Replacement Cost to Policyholders

Posted in: Breach of Contract, Case Updates, Commercial General Liability Insurance, Insurance Bad Faith, Property & Casualty Insurance December 11, 2014

When a covered property is damaged, the insured may face a quintessential Catch-22—the insured cannot afford to proceed with costly repairs or replacement without insurance money, but until the repairs or replacements are finished, the insured cannot recover under the replacement cost provision of the liability policy.  A recent court decision held a policyholder must actually repair or replace the damage in order to claim replacement cost value, but may recover a “conditional judgment” for replacement cost benefits and satisfy the condition after trial.  Stephens & Stephens XII, LLC v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 1073, 2014 WL 6679263 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. Nov. 24, 2014) (“Stephens”).  Stephens fashions a pragmatic approach whereby insurers …

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New liability for claims adjusters the right move. Daily Journal Publishes McKennon Law Group PC Article.

Posted in: Case Updates, Negligence, Property & Casualty Insurance April 22, 2014

The April 21, 2014 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon’s article entitled:  “New Liability for claim adjusters the right move.”  In it, Mr. McKennon discusses a new case which exposes insurance adjustors to negligent misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims by policyholders.  The article is posted below with the permission of the Daily Journal.…

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Property Insurers May Be Liable to Owners for Loss of Rents Resulting from Damaged Property

Posted in: Breach of Contract, Case Updates, Insurance Bad Faith, Policy Interpretation, Property & Casualty Insurance September 25, 2013

Commercial property owners may recover lost rental income from their insurer if they are unable to rent out damaged property, absent clear policy exclusions.  The California Court of Appeal recently held the owner of commercial property has a reasonable expectation of coverage for loss of rent, even if the property was not leased out at the time the damage occurred.  Ventura Kester, LLC v. Folksamerica Reinsurance Company, 2013 DJDAR 12253 (September 11, 2013).  The court explained that if insurers want to limit loss of rent coverage to leases in force at the time of the damages occur, such limitations must be plainly stated in the policy.   Ventura is significant because it limits insurers’ abilities to take advantage of ambiguous …

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Insurer's General Reservation of Rights Does Not Entitle Insured to Cumis Counsel

Posted in: Commercial General Liability Insurance, Directors & Officers Insurance, Duty to Defend, Policy Interpretation, Property & Casualty Insurance September 05, 2013

In a recent ruling, the California Court of Appeal held that an insurer’s general reservation of rights to deny coverage of damages outside its policy does not create a conflict of interest with the insured, such that the insured in entitled to Cumis counsel.  The decision in Federal Insurance Co. v. MBL, Inc. __ Cal. App. 4th __,  2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 679, 2013 WL 4506149 (August 26, 2013) follows California precedent denying insureds the right to select independent counsel at the insurer’s expense absent an actual conflict of interest.…

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Reasonable Interpretation of Statute Does Not Preclude Triable Issue of Fact on Insurance Bad Faith Claim

Posted in: Duty to Defend, Insurance Bad Faith, Property & Casualty Insurance May 10, 2013

A recent California Court of Appeals decision sought to clarify the application of California Insurance Code Section 533.5(b) concerning the statute’s preclusion of an insurer’s duty to defend its insured in criminal actions.  In Mt. Hawley Insurance Co. v. Richard Lopez, Jr.,__Cal.App.4th___, 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 346 (May 1, 2013) the Court of Appeals held that Section 533.5 (b) is not applicable to criminal actions brought by federal prosecuting authorities, and thus is limited to precluding the insurer’s duty to defend its insured in state criminal actions brought by the Attorney General, any district attorney, any city prosecutor, or any county counsel.  The Court importantly held that the insurer’s Motion for Adjudication of the insured’s bad faith claim should …

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Filing an Insurance Claim can be Protected Conduct

Posted in: Case Updates, Insurance Bad Faith, Property & Casualty Insurance January 10, 2013

You have been probably wondering whether the filing of an insurance claim constitutes prelitigation activity that is protected under the anti-SLAPP statute, right?  Well, if you were, you now have an answer:  it is a resounding “maybe.”

In People ex rel. Fire Insurance Exchange v. Anapol, 211 Cal. App. 4th 809 (2012), the California Court of Appeals confirmed that, in certain circumstances, the filing of an insurance claim constitutes prelitigation activity that is protected under the anti-SLAPP statute.  While such circumstances are described as the exception, not the rule, they are designed to protect insureds whose legitimate claims for insurance benefits are improperly denied by an insurance company.…

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