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Flood insurance: Condos and the rising tide (VA)

Perhaps you’ve noticed homes in Norfolk’s Larchmont neighborhood jacked up several feet to escape flooding, or you’ve seen chilling news photos of single-family houses or townhouses surrounded by floodwater.  Sights like these may give the impression that single-family homes, whether

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Insurance Reminders for Condo Associations at Start of Hurricane Season (FL)

With hurricane season now underway, Florida condominium associations should take the time to ensure that they and their owners are prepared for a storm. In addition to ensuring that hurricane shutters are operational and all of the necessary supplies are

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Associations, inform insurer of accidents — even if you think you’re in the clear

Q:  My association has a comprehensive insurance program with property, liability, fidelity, umbrella, directors and officers, and workers’ comp coverage. Recently an owner hired a cable company to install equipment at the owner’s expense. The worker was inside our attic

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Covering The Question Of Condominium Insurance

Question: I am the President of a medium-sized condominium association. I would like to learn more about condominium insurance, and have had some difficulty in getting information. Do you have any comments about such insurance?    Read the Q&A………….

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What’s in Your Wallet? Why HOA Boards Can’t Take Liability Insurance Lightly.

A Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is made up of a group of volunteer homeowners. It’s often a thankless task, where the only guaranteed reward is knowing they’ve helped maintain and improve the value of their neighborhood. The last thing your volunteer

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The Fall Of The Economic Loss Rule And Rise Of The Independent Tort Doctrine

In Florida, the economic loss rule previously prevented parties who allocated their risks and remedies in a contract from bringing a tort action. For many years, the economic loss rule only applied in two circumstances:      Read the article…………

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Pre-Existing Conditions

It is difficult to turn on the news or open a newspaper (do people still do that?) without hearing a discussion of pre-existing conditions. The discussion relates to replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I am fortunate that employer-provided

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Condominium Association Insurance: Beyond the Basics – Part 1

The following is part one of a series on navigating the insurance and risk management obligations of a condominium association. The goal of these posts is to help educate members of the board on how to buy insurance on behalf

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When a Natural Disaster Strikes, Is Your Association Covered?

Hurricanes. Floods. Tornadoes. Hail. Wildfires. Lightning strikes. Earthquakes. Blizzards. Mother Nature has quite the arsenal to throw at us! Unfortunately, every part of North America is subject to one or more of these events. Some, like hurricanes, come with enough

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How well do you know condo insurance exclusions?

Question: We insure a Condo Trust under a business owner’s policy (BOP). A condo unit owner was injured in a slip & fall in the condo parking lot. The BOP policy excludes medical expense coverage for “any insured.” According to

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Help Your HOA Board Members Understand Crime and Fidelity Insurance

While nearly all HOAs have some type of policies on the books, many HOA boards have little or no idea what type of insurance they have or need. This can potentially lead to expensive litigation and claims that can cost

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Insurance Coverage for Property Damage Caused by Defective Workmanship

One of the principal points of contention between insurers and insureds is whether defective construction work is, or can be, an occurrence, thereby triggering coverage.  The New Jersey Supreme Court has joined a growing number of jurisdictions holding that commercial

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“Succeeds to the Interests of” Does Not Require Assumption of Obligations

The individual insured, Robert Primo, previously served as a director and treasurer of Briar Green Condominium Association in Houston, Texas. In 2008 and, shortly before resigning, Primo wrote himself two checks from Briar Green’s account totaling roughly $100,000. Briar Green

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Dogs Take a Huge Bite of Homeowner Liability Claims

Dog bites man, man sues board. Are you adequately insured?  “My dog doesn’t bite.”  Don’t believe those four innocent words. Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claims paid out in 2016

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Through A Condo Owner’s Looking Glass – A Shade Of Green – Or Is That Gray?

In an action applying Florida law, a federal district judge ruled in favor of a Directors and Officers liability insurer, finding that the “insured versus insured” exclusion applied to bar both a defense and coverage of an underlying action. In

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Ninth Circuit: Excess Insurers Must Tread Carefully When Rejecting Demands Exceeding Primary Limits

Under California law, a liability insurer has a good faith duty to reasonably settle claims within its policy limits. In Diamond Heights Homeowners Association v. National American Insurance Co., the California Court of Appeal held that where a proposed settlement

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Condominium Associations May Recoup Insurance Deductibles (NJ)

One of the largest line items in any condominium association’s budget is its insurance premium. Condominium associations are required, pursuant to their governing documents, to carry adequate property insurance to address common elements (and in many cases, unit owners’ improvements),

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Insurance Policy Did Not Prevent Association Recovery from Subcontractors for Defective Work

On February 17, the First District Appellate Court issued an opinion regarding the Implied Warranty of Habitability in the case of Sienna Court Condominium Association v. Champion Aluminum Court et al. The opinion involved three separate appeals: the first relating

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Ninth Circuit: Excess Insurers Must Tread Carefully When Rejecting Demands Exceeding Primary Limits (CA)

Under California law, a liability insurer has a good faith duty to reasonably settle claims within its policy limits. In Diamond Heights Homeowners Association v. National American Insurance Co., the California Court of Appeal held that where a proposed settlement

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6 Communication Tips for a Smoother Insurance Claim Process

If you’ve been a board member or community manager for very long, then you know all too well the issues that come with submitting an insurance claim on behalf of your association. Unfortunately, claims are inevitable for any community, and

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Construction Defects and Insurance Coverage: When Is the Duty to Defend Triggered?

In Florida, an insurance company may have a duty to defend and/or indemnify its insured. The insurance company’s duty to defend its insured (as in defending the insured in a lawsuit) is broader than its duty to indemnify (as in

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Liability of Condo Associations for Damages Caused by Failure of the Common Elements

As a practitioner for many years in the area of association law, I have been aware of a long-standing difference of opinion among association attorneys as to the obligation of a condominium association to pay for damages caused to the

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Seventh Circuit Finds Faulty Work Not a Covered “Occurrence”

In Allied Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Metro North Condo. Assn’     No. 16-1868, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4107 (7th Cir. Mar. 8, 2017), the Seventh Circuit had occasion to consider whether claims of faulty workmanship could constitute “property

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ALLIED PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. METRO NORTH CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION

Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company issued a commercial general liability policy insuring a subcontractor who worked on a multi-unit residential property owned by Metro North Condominium Association. In 2006 the Metro North property sustained extensive water damage caused by

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Many condo insurance claims arise from liability

Condominium corporations present claims against their insurance policies for a wide range of reasons. Although, it is important to note that current trends in claims are not necessarily unique to condominiums.  That said, multi-unit residential dwellings and communities continue to

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Trio of Recent Decisions on the I v. I Exclusion Should Remind Policyholders to Annually Review the Language in Their Policy to Avoid Losing Coverage

D&O policies vary quite a bit from carrier to carrier, and language on “standard” exclusions can change from year to year. Accordingly, it is important to do a yearly review of your D&O policy to make sure your company has

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Texas High Court Finds for Insurer in D&O Coverage Dispute

The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of an insurer in a case that hinged on the applicability of an insured-v.-insured exclusion in the carrier’s directors and officers (D&O) liability policy.  The Court’s action reversed the ruling in Great

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What is Subrogation?!?

The question of the day is: what is subrogation?  Subrogation is a legal concept where one party is permitted to stand in the shoes of another party and recover damages from a third party. For example, it permits an insurer

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5 Key Items to Review in a D&O (And Why You Need One Even If Your Community Gets Along)

Every community needs directors and officers liability insurance protection which, for association boards, is insurance that covers board members and possibly people acting as extensions of the board for legal costs incurred from being sued.  It doesn’t matter how well

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Putting a Premium on Your Insurance Coverage: A Guide to Understanding Condominium Property Claims

Even with proper risk management best practices, it’s impossible to completely avoid all types of insurance claims from happening. At heart, a claim is like any other business dealing—a negotiation. Your ability to convincingly argue your position and support it

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Reservation of Rights Requirements Adopted by South Carolina Supreme Court

The South Carolina Supreme Court’s recent decision in Harleysville Group Insurance v. Heritage Communities, Inc., Appellate Case Nos. 2013-001281 and 2013-001291, 2017 WL 105021 (S.C. Jan. 11, 2017) affirms what is and is not covered “property damage” under commercial general

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Got Crime Insurance for Your Condo Association?

While a condo association may have a related business insurance policy for liability, property as well as directors’ and officers’ coverage, there is a glaring risk that many big and small associations might ignore – until the damages and losses

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Has Your Insurance Got You Covered?

Does your insurance company play fair and square with you?  Not always, asserts attorney Tara Snow, a partner at Novitt, Sahr & Snow. And if you are not on the ball, you could lose significant coverage.  Snow points to a

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Federal Appeals Court Finds Luxury Condo Owner’s Suit Filed too Late Against Insurer (NV)

A luxury high rise condominium located in Las Vegas, Nevada, was found to have been barred from recovery of its $5 million window damage claim, according to a ruling by the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.  The

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Oregon High Court Clarifies How To Read the Four Corners of a Complaint

On December 8, 2016, the Oregon Supreme Court issued a decision, West Hills Development Co. v. Chartis Claims, Inc., 360 Or. 650 (2016), clarifying what allegations in a construction defect suit will implicate coverage under an “ongoing operations” additional insured

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Is Your Fire Insurance Full of Hot Air?

It was one of the worst fires in Catskills history: The 396-unit Grandview Palace Condominiums, formerly the fabled Brown’s Hotel in the Borscht Belt, erupted in flames on April 14, 2012. Seven of its nine buildings were destroyed, though none

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Why Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance Is A Must For Homeowner Associations

Did you know that volunteering as a board member for your condo or HOA could jeopardize your personal financial security? You’re actually at risk from lawsuits against the board—whether they have merit or not. Having an indemnification clause in your

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Construction company claims insurance provider failed to protect it (CA)

A trial date has been set for the end of January in an insurance coverage case to determine who is responsible for water and mold damage sustained in a condominium.  Saarman Construction Ltd. was hired by a homeowners association to

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As Building Code Adoption Increases, Insurance Losses Decrease

Maintaining a safe and secure building is a major concern for property owners and managers. Due to the important role buildings play in society, architects and engineers begin plotting out the the safety measures and standards well before the actual

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D&O Insurance — Uncovered

Homeowner Association and Condo boards have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the community as a whole, follow the law, and protect the assets and financial stability of the community. Proper insurance plays a major role

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Worker’s Compensation Insurance for Your HOA

As a community association, it may not seem that workers’ compensation is a necessary tool in your arsenal. However, to keep the neighborhood looking good, you probably hire outside vendors, such as contractors, landscapers, etc. If this is the case,

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Condo association accuses insurer of deceptive practices (TX)

A Galveston County condo association is suing a Texas City insurance business, alleging deceptive trade practices.  Eibands Luxury Condominiums Associations Inc. filed a complaint Oct. 19 in Galveston County District Court against Rust Ewing Watt & Haney Inc., et al,

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What Happens Next after Cypress (NJ)

The New Jersey Supreme Court in Cypress Point Condominium Association, Inc. v. Adria Towers, LLC., et al. (A-13/14-15)(076348) finally put to rest (in New Jersey) an issue that has been haunting general contractors and developers since 1979. That is the

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5 Actions an HOA Board Should Take to Clarify Maintenance & Insurance

One common subject that often causes confusion in a homeowners association is grasping the difference between the maintenance responsibilities of an association and the items that are covered by the association’s insurance policy. Often owners and even HOA board members

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Ordinance and Law Insurance for Your HOA

Your HOA probably already has basic insurance to protect your community in the event of a natural disaster. However, basic insurance isn’t always enough to fully pay for what needs to be done. If you want total coverage, your HOA

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New Flood Zones Could Slash Insurance Premiums (NY)

Federal officials, responding to an appeal from Mayor Bill de Blasio, have agreed to redraw the city’s flood maps, which is likely to reduce or eliminate insurance premiums for thousands of buildings currently in flood zones, Crain’s reports.    Read

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Community Associations and Water Damage

When writing insurance for a condominium association or a homeowner’s association insured like a condominium, there are two integral parts of the insurance program: The association’s Insurance and the unit-owners Insurance. The association’s insurance is responsible for the structures and

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Sometimes It’s Hard to Waive Subrogation: Pacific Indemnity v. Deming

According to the recent decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Pacific Indemnity Company v. Deming, 2016 WL 3607028, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 12374 (July 5, 2016) common contractual provisions that defendants frequently assume amount

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Mitigating professional liability risks in the construction industry

Operating a business in the commercial design and engineering sector involves dealing with a host of risks. These threats to a design or engineering firm stem from a variety of factors and can potentially cause the disruption of normal business

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The Earth Movement Exclusion: How Does it Affect Construction Defect Cases?

One of the biggest considerations for parties on both sides of any lawsuit is whether insurance coverage will apply to the plaintiff’s claims. This is especially true in construction defect cases, where the cost of repairing the alleged damage can

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