Trick-Or-Treat: Halloween Events Filled With
Holiday Treats, Haunted Houses And Crime
[Thu, October 27, 2011] A huge goodie bag of parties
and trick-or-treat events have been planned to fill this upcoming Halloween weekend for families across United States.
Kids are urged to go easy on the candy,
adults are cautioned to stay safe and property owners are advised to protect their homes from theft and vandalism.
While you are busy hanging spider
webs on your shrubs or picking out a costume, don’t forget about the other important details to make your Halloween
weekend fun and safe: protect your home from theft and vandalism losses. Keep doors locked, leave lights on, stay aware while
having strangers or party goers at your home, keep valuable out of sight.
Halloween is a prime time for thieves to take the opportunity to seize
your valuables or vandalize your home. In the event that a loss occurs, information and knowledge is vital.
What is considered theft or
vandalism? In law, theft is a crime of taking the property or services of another without consent. Under most statutes,
theft encompasses the crimes of larceny, robbery, and burglary. Larceny is the crime of taking and carrying away the goods
of another with intent to steal. Burglary is defined as the breaking and entering of the premises of another with intent to
commit a felony within.
The intentional destruction of property is popularly referred to as vandalism. It includes behavior such as breaking
windows, slashing tires, spray painting a wall with graffiti, and destroying a computer system through the use of a computer
virus. Vandalism is a malicious act and may reflect personal ill will, although the perpetrators need not know their victim
to commit vandalism. The recklessness of the act imputes both intent and malice.
Vandalism or theft may or may not be covered by your insurance and depends
on the type of policy, type of loss, cause of loss and the way
your claim has been prepared and handled. All basic homeowners, condo, and renter’s insurance policies have
limits and restrictions on certain types of personal property loss, including but not limited to jewelry, furs, fine art,
memorabilia, collectibles, money or securities.
In the event of a loss, your insurance provider will ask to present a list of all items that
were destroyed or damaged. I strongly recommend that you take the time now to make a room-by-room inventory of everything
you own, including when you bought the items and how much they cost. We also suggest keeping videos, photos, receipts or credit
card statements for higher value items, such as furniture, appliances, rugs, and expensive clothing.
Many homeowners’ policies place
limits on how much they will pay for certain types of items. Another common oversight with homeowners insurance is the difference
between actual cash value and replacement cost of your home’s contents. If you suffer a loss, actual cash value pays
based on what your property is worth at the time where as replacement cost coverage pays what it costs to replace those items.
This difference can be significant.
Please consult a licensed Public Adjuster on the type of coverage you currently have, may be lacking or needlessly
paying for. Public Adjusters know the myriad scenarios, restrictions and rules when it comes to theft and vandalism. Stay
safe and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have a question or may need assistance.
Pollution Exclusion Bars Coverage For Suit
Seeking Damages For Bacterial Infection
[Sun, October 23, 2011] The Eleventh U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals held that a pollution exclusion barred coverage of a suit seeking damages for a bacterial infection contracted
as a result of millings from roadwork where the millings constituted irritating effects pursuant to the definition of the
policy's pollution exclusion.
by Leagle, Inc. (a leading provider of copies of primary case law from all Federal and State higher courts), this action for declaratory relief is derivative of a state court action brought by Julius J. Szabo against Norman and Diane Weizer as the owners and operators
of Florida West Covered RV & Boat Storage, LLC.
Szabo sued Florida West and the Weizers (collectively, "Florida West") in a separate state
court action. According to his complaint, Szabo was forced to wade through retained flood water to retrieve his personal property
from a storage unit that he leased from Florida West. Szabo alleged that he "contract[ed] bacterial poisoning,"
"a severe bacterial infection," and "injury" due to "milling[s] from roadwork" which had mixed
with the flood water. In response to Szabo's complaint, Florida West sought protection under its standard commercial general
liability insurance policy ("CGL") with Markel International Insurance Company.
The predicament was whether the state court complaint alleged
facts that fell within the scope of two policy exclusions contained in the Markel CGL policy. The district court granted summary
judgment in favor of Markel, finding that Markel was not obligated to defend or indemnify Florida West under the CGL policy
because the absolute pollution exclusion and absorption/inhalation/disease exclusions applied to defeat coverage.
The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the district court's
judgment. Thus, the district court correctly looked to the dictionary definitions of "contaminant" and "irritant"
in construing the exclusion, and thus, according to the underlying complaint, the presence of millings in the water was precisely
what caused his injuries. Pursuant to a reasonable reading of the complaint, the Eleventh Circuit found millings mixed with
flood water constituted a "pollutant" within the meaning of the absolute pollution exclusion.
The district court checked and examined the dictionary
definitions of "contaminant" and "irritant" in construing the exclusion, thus the court properly noted
that, according to Szabo's complaint, the presence of millings in the water was what caused his injuries.
Interestingly, the district court established
that it is a product's ability to produce an irritating effect that places the product within the policies' definition of
an "irritant." It was of no weight that the complaint did not use the words "irritant," "contaminant,"
"pollutant" or "pollution," as Florida West suggested.
this case is marked “Do Not Publish” by the courts. It indicates that the decision is not to be used as legal
precedent, however the decision is still available for public access.
Let me know what you think on this ruling. Stay safe and in-the-know when it comes to property damage
and insurance claims!
[Fri, October 14, 2011] The
American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters is busy getting the word out about how hiring a public insurance adjuster can add value to a policyholder’s insurance
claim. AAPIA prides itself on being a professional organization representing public adjusters from all over the United States.
AAPIA sponsors educational, social, and networking programs throughout the year.
Recently, Gene Veno, the President of the American Association of Public
Insurance Adjusters, was interviewed about the role of a public adjuster and the value a claims professional can add to a
property damage claim when that professional is working on behalf of the policyholder.
[Fri, October 7, 2011] Many tenants of rented properties wisely choose
to purchase insurance. Tenant's insurance is usually inexpensive, and can save you money in case of an incident such as fire
the example below, a tenant sustains damage to the garage door of his rented home. Would this loss be covered by a typical
tenant's policy such as the HO-4?
The incident: An insured has an HO-4 tenant policy and resides in a rented single family home. The
tenant opened the garage door and left the trunk lid of his van up because he was cleaning it. While the trunk lid was still
open, the insured went to get something in the house. As doing so the insured automatically hit the button to close the garage
door. The garage door sustained damage and needed to be completely replaced. The property damage claim is for the broken
garage door that occurred when it attempted to close and struck the trunk lid of the van. Did the claim arise out of the use
of an auto? Would the motor vehicle liability exclusion apply?
The policy: The HO-4 policy provides coverage for a tenant of a single-family
residence or a tenant of an apartment. The policy focuses on loss to personal property such as clothes, furniture and other
belongings within the dwelling. Coverage for legal liability is also included. The HO-4 policy does not include coverage for
the building and other structures because a tenant does not have an insurable interest in the building.
The claim: The insured
certainly owns the van, and liability for property damage to property of others arising from the ownership, maintenance, occupancy,
operation, use, loading or unloading of motor vehicles is excluded. Likewise, property damage to property rented to, occupied
or used by, or in the care of an insured is excluded. The garage door was rented to and used by the insured. There is no coverage
for this property damage claim. The HO-4 renter's form does not cover damages to the structure.