Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma

Consultant, Barry Zalma, Inc.

Contact Info

Zalma Insurance Consultants a Service of Barry Zalma, Inc.
4441 Sepulveda Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90230-4847
Phone: (310) 390–4455
Fax: (310) 391–5614


Barry Zalma writes on the insurance industry claims practices for

Mr. Zalma is a California attorney, insurance claims consultant, expert witness, and author. Since October 1, 2012, Mr. Zalma limited his practice to consultation, expert witness testimony, arbitration, mediation, and acting as umpire in insurance policy appraisals. His insurance consulting practice, Zalma Insurance Consultants, is available to insurers and insureds to assist in the resolution of insurance disputes or to provide expert testimony or consultation.

Mr. Zalma is a certified fraud examiner. He serves on the faculty of the Virtual University of the Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, writes a regular column for the National Underwriter Magazine, Insurance Advocate Magazine, and Underwriters Insider and is a member of the editorial board and frequent contributor to Claims Magazine. He has written for more than 18 years the twice monthly Zalma's Insurance Fraud Letter, a daily blog summarizing recent insurance cases at Zalma on Insurance, and a video blog providing painless insurance education called Zalma’s Insurance 101.

Mr. Zalma has served as a director of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Forensic Expert Witnesses Association and the Southern California Fraud Investigators Association and is a member of the California Conference of Arson Investigators, the International Association of Arson Investigators, the Southern California Fraud Investigators Association, the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section and its Property and Coverage Committees, the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, and the Defense Research Institute. He holds the designation Fraud Claim Law Specialist, which was awarded by the American Educational Institution.

Mr. Zalma has testified as an expert witness in the California Superior Court, various US district courts, and the superior courts of Nebraska, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oklahoma. He is an internationally recognized expert on insurance claims handling, bad faith, insurance coverage, the commercial general liability (CGL) policy, insurance fraud, jewelers block insurance, and other inland marine coverages. Mr. Zalma is the author of, or has rewritten, CGL, fire, auto, earthquake, jewelers block, and other insurance policies for insurer clients.

In addition, Mr. Zalma is the author of the Zalma Insurance Claims Library published by the National Underwriter Company, including Insurance Claims: A Comprehensive Guide, Construction Defect Coverage Guide, Insurance Law, and Mold Claims Coverage Guide. The American Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Practice Section, has published Mr. Zalma's book The Insurance Fraud Deskbook and Diminution if Value Damages: How To Determine the Proper Measure of Damage to Real and Personal Property.

Mr. Zalma is the author of the e-books Zalma on California Claims Regulations—2013; Zalma on California SIU Regulations; Zalma on Rescission of Insurance in California—2013; Random Thoughts on InsuranceA Collection of Posts from the Blog, Zalma on Insurance; Zalma on Insurance Fraud—2012; Zalma on Insurance—2011; Murder and Insurance Fraud Don't Mix; Arson for Profit; and Heads I Win, Tails You Lose—2011.

Zalma's Insurance Fraud Letter is free and available from ClaimSchool, Inc. Mr. Zalma received his A.B. in philosophy from Claremont Men's College and his J.D. from the University of West Los Angeles, College of Law.

Expert Commentary

Date Article
Jan 2023 Building Must Fall To Trigger Collapse Coverage
Aug 2022 Insured's Release of Insurer Defeats Claim of Third Party
Apr 2022 An Adjuster Is Not a Party to an Insurance Contract
Jan 2022 Malpractice Insurance Policy Rescinded When Lawyer Lies on Application
Nov 2021 Investigation of Qui Tam Suit Not Covered by D&O Policy
Jul 2021 Minor Claims Fraud Voids Entire Policy
Jul 2021 The Many "Victims" of "Mostly Peaceful Demonstrations"
Apr 2021 Insurance Fraud by Agent Is Fraud by Insured
Feb 2021 The Basics of Property Claim Adjusting
Feb 2021 Professional Insurance Adjusting and Insurance Fraud
Nov 2020 Insurer Loses Summary Judgment by Claiming Evidence It Never Had
Oct 2020 Conversion Is an Intentional Tort and Can Never Be an Occurrence
Aug 2020 It's Not Nice To Lie to Your Insurance Company
Apr 2020 Failure To Give Notice Defeats Coverage
Jan 2020 Insured's Obligation To Read the Insurance Policy
Oct 2019 Crazy or Not, the Insured Intended To Kill His Wife
Jul 2019 Subrogation Waiver Held Enforceable by Wisconsin Supreme Court
Apr 2019 Purchasing Higher Deductibles Than Desired Is Not Broker Negligence
Jan 2019 Agent Has No Duty To Advise Insurance Coverage Needs
Nov 2018 Infrared Detection of Water Damage
Oct 2018 California Case Comes Down Hard on Insurers
Aug 2018 Appraiser Disqualified for Contingent Fee
Jul 2018 Greedily Contesting Claim Recovery Can Backfire
Apr 2018 Taking Months To Hire a Public Adjuster Is No Excuse for Late Notice
Jan 2018 Coconspirator's Civil Testimony Convicts Arsonist
Nov 2017 Looking at the Tort of Bad Faith
Oct 2017 No Insurance Policy Covers Every Possible Eventuality
Jul 2017 Pleading Can't Change a Battery into Negligence
Apr 2017 Excess Insurer May Not Refuse Reasonable Settlement
Jan 2017 Potential for Insurance Coverage Requires Defense
Nov 2016 No Bad Faith for Reasonable Dispute
Oct 2016 Federal Preemption in Favor of a Risk Retention Group
Jul 2016 Prompt Payment of Appraisal Award Defeats Bad Faith
Apr 2016 Agent's Lie to Insurer Voids Policy
Feb 2016 Installation of Defective Product Is Not Physical Damage
Jan 2016 Invest in Claims Training: Ignorance Can Be Cured
Oct 2015 How Far Can a Lawyer Fall?
Aug 2015 Can an Insurer Obtain Insured’s Tax Returns?
May 2015 Captive Agent Must Use Ordinary Care
Apr 2015 Fairly Debatable Position Sufficient To Avoid Bad Faith Claim
Mar 2015 Is Pool Pop-Out Excluded?
Feb 2015 No Cover for Person Not Named as an Insured
Jan 2015 Eight-Corners Rule Defeats Right to Defense
Oct 2014 Texas Court Rules WC Is the Exclusive Remedy in CCIP Claim
Jun 2014 No Fortuity for Wrong That Started before Policy
Mar 2014 Policy Must Say What Insurer Means
Jan 2014 No Right to Independent Counsel
Oct 2013 Foreclosure Destroys Insurable Interest
Jul 2013 The Birth of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Apr 2013 Insurer's Lawyer's Advice Not Privileged
Feb 2013 The Letter—Not Spirit—of Law Must Be Applied
Jan 2013 "Chutzpah"—Filing Suit for Speed Contest Injuries
Dec 2012 California Allows Stacking of CGL: A Case of First Impression and Importance
Aug 2012 Need Does Not Create Coverage
Jul 2012 Fraud Rulings in California and Michigan
Apr 2012 Appraisal Only Determines Loss
Dec 2011 When an Occurrence Is Not an Occurrence: Faulty Construction Is Not an "Occurrence"
Oct 2011 Claims-Made Policies—Report Potential Claims Immediately
Jul 2011 Automobile Repair Claims: Cutting into
Apr 2011 Arson Conviction Upheld in Ohio; Texas Lets One Go Free
Jan 2011 Pleading the Fifth Can Forfeit Insurance Coverage
Oct 2010 Whistleblower Construction Defect Lawsuit Fails for Lack of Evidence
Aug 2010 Diminution in Value
Jun 2010 Insureds and Their Public Adjuster Nephew Punished for Adding to Damage after Legitimate Loss
Feb 2010 Legitimate Loss becomes a Crime When Insured Lies
Oct 2009 Breach of Contractor's Warranty Defeats Coverage
May 2009 Attorney Fees for Enforcement of Settlements in Florida
Jan 2009 Insurance Fraud
Oct 2008 The Examination under Oath
Jul 2008 Insurers Need To Audit Their Vendors' Service
May 2008 Surprise: Insurance Is Not a Service
Feb 2008 Insurer Must Go to Trial on Allegations of a Fraudulent Settlement
Jan 2008 Required Insurance Training and Continuing Education
Oct 2007 Insurance Fraud: The Orphan Child of the U.S. Justice System
Aug 2007 Use Licensed Experts in Claims Litigation
May 2007 The Lawyer as an Insurance Claims Expert
Mar 2007 When Agents or Applicants Lie to Insurers
Jan 2007 Insurance Fraud Fails in L.A. Superior Court
Aug 2006 Insurer Sues Attorney for Malicious Prosecution
Jul 2006 Sharing of Information between Insurers To Fight Fraud
Apr 2006 The Ethical Dilemma Caused by Fighting Fraud
Mar 2006 New ISO ACV Definition and California Statute
Sep 2005 Claims in a Disaster
Aug 2005 Rescission in California
Apr 2005 Insurance and the Law of Unintended Consequences
Dec 2004 Fraudulent Application Can Haunt the Broker
Sep 2004 California Supreme Court Rules: Ordinary Negligence Involving Toxic Chemicals Not Pollution
Aug 2004 Mold and Fungi Insurance Claims
Jul 2004 Stacking Insurance Limits
Apr 2004 The Ethical Dilemma Caused by Fighting Fraud
Jan 2004 Adjusting Liability Claims
Oct 2003 Litigation Management Can Destroy Promised Service
Sep 2003 Why Insurance Fraud Succeeds