Personal Lines Articles

Latest Articles

Claims Practices

Building Must Fall To Trigger Collapse Coverage

2023-01-04 | Barry Zalma

Where policy requires an abrupt collapse, the court rules no coverage for a still-standing building. Barry Zalma explains.

Catastrophe Risk Management

FAQs for Surviving Hurricane and Flood Losses

2022-09-01 | Robin K Olson

FAQs for Surviving Hurricane and Flood Losses—IRMI offers assistance in the form of informative tips for dealing with insurance claims.

Claims Practices

Insured's Release of Insurer Defeats Claim of Third Party

2022-08-05 | Barry Zalma

An assignment of claim against insurers after insureds sign a release is worthless. Barry Zalma relates the case.

Claims Practices

Appreciative Inquiry—A Transformational Change Management Tool

2022-05-12 | Peter G Furst

Peter Furst explains this tool for improving business outcomes by focusing on the potential for future enhancements.

Claims Practices

An Adjuster Is Not a Party to an Insurance Contract

2022-04-08 | Barry Zalma

The Colorado Supreme Court makes it clear that an adjuster may not be sued for the tort of bad faith Barry Zalma relates the case.

Claims Practices

Malpractice Insurance Policy Rescinded When Lawyer Lies on Application

2022-01-13 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates a recent Utah case involving a lawyer's dishonesty on an insurance application.

Claims Practices

Investigation of Qui Tam Suit Not Covered by D&O Policy

2021-11-15 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates a case finding no coverage for a qui tam suit filed before the inception of the policy.

Claims Practices

The Many "Victims" of "Mostly Peaceful Demonstrations"

2021-07-02 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma takes issue with calling the 2019–2020 riots "victimless" and looks at those impacted.

Claims Practices

Insurance Fraud by Agent Is Fraud by Insured

2021-04-23 | Barry Zalma

Insurance Fraud by Agent Is Fraud by Insured—A false home loss estimate by a "consultant" that is adopted by an insured is fraud. Barry Zalma relates the case.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Dealing with Winter Storm Damage

2021-02-19 | Robin K Olson

In light of the devastating storms that hit the United States, IRMI is providing advice on what damage is covered and tips on filing insurance claims.

Claims Practices

Professional Insurance Adjusting and Insurance Fraud

2021-02-05 | Barry Zalma

Professional Insurance Adjusting and Insurance Fraud—Barry Zalma looks at the role of the claims adjuster and offers a suggestion for fighting fraud.

Claims Practices

Insurer Loses Summary Judgment by Claiming Evidence It Never Had

2020-11-13 | Barry Zalma

Insurer Loses Summary Judgment by Claiming Evidence It Never Had—Barry Zalma relates a case where the insurer failed to prove all elements of the motion.

Claims Practices

Conversion Is an Intentional Tort and Can Never Be an Occurrence

2020-10-16 | Barry Zalma

Conversion Is an Intentional Tort and Can Never Be an Occurrence—There's no duty to defend if there is no occurrence. Barry Zalma relates a case alleging theft.

Claims Practices

It's Not Nice To Lie to Your Insurance Company

2020-08-07 | Barry Zalma

It's Not Nice To Lie to Your Insurance CompanyBarry Zalma relates a case where fraudulently obtained no-fault insurance was subject to rescission.

Personal Risk Management

Home Replacement Cost Valuation Guide

2020-07-10 | Kurt Thoennessen

Home Replacement Cost Valuation Guide—How can home owners determine their home's value? Kurt Thoennessen provides tips.

Claims Practices

Failure to Give Notice Defeats Coverage

2020-04-17 | Barry Zalma

Failure To Give Notice Defeats Coverage—Judgment creditor who did not comply with policy condition had no coverage. Barry Zalma relates the case.

Personal Risk Management

Second Home Risk Management Strategies

2020-03-06 | Kurt Thoennessen

Second Home Risk Management Strategies—Insuring a second house can be challenging. Kurt Thoennessen explains and provides risk management tips.

Claims Practices

Insured's Obligation To Read the Insurance Policy

2020-01-24 | Barry Zalma

Insured's Obligation To Read the Insurance Policy—Most people do not read their insurance policy. Barry Zalma explains why they should.

Personal Risk Management

Personal Risk Management and How It Improves Loss Resilience

2020-01-03 | Kurt Thoennessen

Personal Risk Management and How It Improves Loss Resilience—Having a risk management mindset is key, per Kurt Thoennessen.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Ghost Building: What Is It, and How Do You Insure One?


Learn how to identify and handle ghost buildings, a traditionally overlooked risk in construction, in this article by Swiss Re.

Catastrophe Risk Management

FAQs for Surviving Tornado Losses

2019-11-01 | Robin K Olson

IRMI offers information about dealing with tornado insurance claims.

Claims Practices

Crazy or Not, the Insured Intended to Kill His Wife

2019-10-11 | Barry Zalma

Crazy or Not, the Insured Intended To Kill His Wife—Inability to form criminal intent does not make murder an accident. Read the case related by Barry Zalma.

Personal Risk Management

Flood Insurance Road Map and Coverage Guide

2019-10-11 | Kurt Thoennessen

Flood Insurance Road Map and Coverage Guide—Kurt Thoennessen provides info to help you design a flood insurance program that fits your home's unique needs.

Personal Risk Management

Fine Art Risk Management and Insurance Planning Guide

2019-07-26 | Kurt Thoennessen

Fine Art Risk Management and Insurance Planning Guide—Kurt Thoennessen reviews strategies and techniques to protect artwork of any size or value.

Claims Practices

Subrogation Waiver Held Enforceable by Wisconsin Supreme Court

2019-07-19 | Barry Zalma

Subrogation Waiver Held Enforceable by Wisconsin Supreme Court—Barry Zalma relates a case where an insurer sought to negate its agreement to waive subrogation.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Natural Catastrophe Management

2019-05-03 | Joe DiRubbo

The risk of a natural catastrophe and secondary perils is a big one. Joe DiRubbo examines the issues.

Claims Practices

Purchasing Higher Deductibles Than Desired Is Not Broker Negligence

2019-04-12 | Barry Zalma

Purchasing Higher Deductibles Than Desired Is Not Broker Negligence—Barry Zalma relates a case where the policy didn't provide the coverage expected.

Personal Risk Management

Estate Planning Strategies That Cause Major Insurance Coverage Gaps

2019-04-12 | Kurt Thoennessen

Estate Planning Strategies That Cause Major Insurance Coverage Gaps—Insurance specialist help is invaluable, per Kurt Thoennessen.

Personal Risk Management

Wi-Fi Enabled Automatic Water Shutoff Devices Are a Win-Win

2019-01-24 | Kurt Thoennessen

Wi-Fi Enabled Automatic Water Shut-Off Devices Are a Win-Win—Insureds, insurers, and agents can benefit, according to Kurt Thoennessen.

Claims Practices

Agent Has No Duty to Advise Insurance Coverage Needs

2019-01-18 | Barry Zalma

Agent Has No Duty To Advise Insurance Coverage Needs—Barry Zalma relates a recent Alabama case.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Implementing Natural Hazard Resilience throughout a Large Organization

2018-11-30 | Nathan C Gould

Implementing Natural Hazard Resilience—Nathan Gould explains the importance of developing a natural hazard design standard to increase facility and operational resilience.

Claims Practices

Infrared Detection of Water Damage

2018-11-16 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma discusses a new tool that can be used by claims investigators, remediators, and consultants to detect and help eliminate mold infestations.

Personal Risk Management

Personal Umbrella Coverage Road Map

2018-11-02 | Kurt Thoennessen

Personal Umbrella Coverage Road Map—Kurt Thoennessen answers basic questions asked about personal risk management and umbrella insurance.

Personal Risk Management

Crafting the Right Coverage for Uber and Lyft Drivers

2018-10-26 | Robin K Olson

Crafting the Right Coverage for Uber and Lyft Drivers—Learn how best to insure clients who work for ridesharing companies.

Claims Practices

California Case Comes Down Hard on Insurers

2018-10-19 | Barry Zalma

California Case Comes Down Hard on Insurers—Barry Zalma relates a case finding single acts in violation of the regulations can constitute a business practice.

Personal Lines Insurance

What Exactly Is Actual Cash Value? Better Yet, How Do You Calculate It?

2018-09-21 | Mike McCracken

Why are there so many problems surrounding the issue of ACV at claim time? Mike McCracken explores the reasons in various jurisdictions.

Personal Risk Management

Renovations Can Cause Homeowners Insurance Coverage Gaps

2018-07-27 | Kurt Thoennessen

Renovations Can Cause Homeowners Insurance Coverage Gaps—Major risks exist when loss strikes a house being remodeled. Kurt Thoennessen explains.

Personal Risk Management

Personal Cyber-Security Planning Guide

2018-04-27 | Kurt Thoennessen

Cyber Security—Not Just for Big Business—Assess your personal risk of cyber crime, and learn some ways to handle it from Kurt Thoennessen.

Claims Practices

Taking Months to Hire a Public Adjuster Is No Excuse for Late Notice

2018-04-13 | Barry Zalma

Taking Months to Hire a Public Adjuster Is No Excuse for Late NoticeBeing too busy is not a tenable excuse. Barry Zalma relates a California case.

Claims Practices

Coconspirator's Civil Testimony Convicts Arsonist

2018-01-19 | Barry Zalma

Coconspirator's Civil Testimony Convicts Arsonist—No hearsay protection in a recent Connecticut case related by Barry Zalma.

Auto Insurance

Business Auto Policy Covered Auto Designation Symbols

2017-12-15 | Royce Gene E Farnsworth

Business Auto Policy Covered Auto Designation Symbols—Several states expanded UM/UIM coverage to hired and nonowned autos. Gene Farnsworth examines the ramifications.

Personal Risk Management

10 Steps to a Well-Designed HO 6 Policy

2017-11-10 | Jack Hungelmann

10 Steps to a Well-Designed HO-6 Policy—In an update to his 2012 article, Jack Hungelmann reviews the problems and solutions of HO 6 insurance policies.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Multi-Hazard Design to Improve Facility Resilience

2017-10-13 | Nathan C Gould

Multi-hazard Design To Improve Facility Resilience—When building, consider strengthening building codes, advises Nathan Gould.

Claims Practices

No Insurance Policy Covers Every Possible Eventuality

2017-10-06 | Barry Zalma

No Insurance Policy Covers Every Possible Eventuality—Barry Zalma relates a case where professional liability insurance doesn't cover sexual harassment.

Claims Practices

Pleading Can't Change a Battery into Negligence

2017-07-21 | Barry Zalma

Pleading Can't Change a Battery into Negligence—Barry Zalma relates a recent case for coverage for a barroom assault.

Personal Risk Management

In Praise of Personal Umbrella Policies

2017-06-02 | Jack Hungelmann

Selecting the right umbrella policy can be daunting. Jack Hungelmann provides guidance.

Claims Practices

Excess Insurer May Not Refuse Reasonable Settlement

2017-04-07 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates a case holding that the insured and primary insurer may settle when excess refuses to participate.

Personal Risk Management

Traversing Your Career Path: Apprentice, Journeyman, or Master

2017-02-17 | Paul Farrell

Wherever you are on your career path, it's important to mentor, invest in new trainees, and also capitalize on the graying workforce.

Personal Lines Insurance

The Future of Personal Lines Insurance

2017-02-03 | Robin K Olson

Michael Hill explains how this option can facilitate cleanups that otherwise could take years just to begin.

Claims Practices

Potential for Insurance Coverage Requires Defense

2017-01-27 | Barry Zalma

A recent California case -- Tidwell Ent. v. Financial Pacific Ins. -- involves pyrolysis and the insurer's duty to provide a defense.

Personal Risk Management

Uber and Lyft: Insuring the Drivers

2017-01-20 | Jack Hungelmann

Don't forget the downside of driving for a ridesharing company. Learn the risks and the possible solutions that are currently available.

Claims Practices

No Bad Faith for Reasonable Dispute

2016-11-11 | Barry Zalma

Where insured fails to prove a property insurance loss, the claim ends: One-Way Investments v. Century Surety Co.

Personal Risk Management

Driver Safety for Meal Delivery Operations

2016-10-21 | Paul Farrell

This article emphasizes the importance of having a strong business auto safety program to assure that delivering meals to customers goes smoothly.

Claims Practices

Prompt Payment of Appraisal Award Defeats Bad Faith

2016-07-22 | Barry Zalma

A Texas case, Anderson v. American Risk, shows that a breach of contract is needed for a bad faith claim.

Claims Practices

Agent's Lie to Insurer Voids Policy

2016-04-08 | Barry Zalma

Lies on insurance application about material facts cancels coverage.

Claims Practices

Installation of Defective Product Is Not Physical Damage

2016-02-26 | Barry Zalma

Installation of Defective Product Is Not Physical Damage—Barry Zalma relates a case holding that actual physical injury is required for CGL coverage.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Obtaining the Right Builders Risk Insurance Coverage

2016-02-05 | Christopher, M., Brophy,, David, G., Jordan

You're building an office building, residential complex, hotel, or multiuse construction project for an estimated cost of $120 million, and your lender says it wants $120 million of insurance coverage for wind storm, flood, and other perils. But wait—is that amount suitable for the project?

Personal Risk Management

Insurance Loss Control and the Hippocratic Oath

2016-01-22 | Paul Farrell

Paul Farrell extrapolates on the distinctive roles of the loss control professional—as coach, inspector, auditor, and consultant.

Claims Practices

Invest in Claims Training: Ignorance Can Be Cured

2016-01-15 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma believes the demise of formal training for claims adjusters has cost insurers dearly and advocates for its return.

Claims Practices

Can an Insurer Obtain Insured's Tax Returns?

2015-08-28 | Barry Zalma

In relating a recent Utah case, Barry Zalma relates the court's opinion regarding how tax returns can establish a triable issue if allowed in evidence.

Claims Practices

Is Pool Pop-Out Excluded?

2015-03-27 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma discusses a recent case holding that a clear and unambiguous subsurface water pressure exclusion applied.

Claims Practices

Eight-Corners Rule Defeats Right to Defense

2015-01-01 | Barry Zalma

A court rules there's no accident when a person is shot in the head at close range. Barry Zalma relates the case.

Personal Lines Claims

The Claims Professional as Problem Solver

2014-11-01 | Elise Farnham

Elise Farnham provides six tips to help resolve claim situations in an efficient and economical manner.

Claims Practices

Texas Court Rules WC Is the Exclusive Remedy in CCIP Claim

2014-10-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates a case involving a crane collapse and a contractor controlled insurance program.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Insurance Considerations in Operational Resilience

2014-08-01 | Christopher M Brophy

Christopher Brophy examines the practical considerations for recovery planning and how well the insurance program melds.

Claims Practices

Foreclosure Destroys Insurable Interest

2013-10-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma discusses a recent Texas case involving a homeowners insurance claim and the possibility of profiting where the policy provided no coverage.

Personal Lines Claims

Evaluating Bodily Injury Claims—Back Injuries

2013-10-01 | Elise Farnham

Claims professionals need to conduct a thorough investigation, per Elise Farnham.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Covering Sinkhole Losses

2013-09-01 | Christopher M Brophy

Christopher Brophy describes the scope of sinkhole losses and available coverage.

Personal Lines Claims

Evaluating Bodily Injury Claims—The Effects of Traumatic Injuries

2013-07-01 | Elise Farnham

Elise Farnham explains the importance of psychosomatic medicine and the impact of emotions on the healing process.

Personal Lines Claims

Evaluating Bodily Injury Claims: Consideration Based on the Type of Injury—Fractures

2013-06-01 | Elise Farnham

Assess the extent of injury, health of the injured party, and potential for permanent disability, per Elise Farnham.

Claims Practices

Insurer's Lawyer's Advice Not Privileged

2013-04-01 | Barry Zalma

In Washington state, it appears that all lawyers and litigants are equal except for insurers and their lawyers, who are less equal than all others are.

Personal Lines Claims

Evaluating Bodily Injury Claims: Consideration Based on the Type of Injury—Wounds

2013-01-01 | Elise Farnham

Personal injury wounds vary. Elise Farnham discusses what should be considered when evaluating these injuries.

Claims Practices

California Allows Stacking of CGL: a Case of First Impression and Importance

2012-12-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates a California case holding that each insurer must pay its limits for each policy year it had a policy in effect.

Personal Lines Claims

Claims: There's an App for That, or Is There?

2012-07-07 | Elise Farnham

Elise Farnham develops ideas for mobile phone applications for insurance claims adjusters.

Personal Risk Management

Insuring Liability Risks When Motor Homes or Trailers Are Used as a Secondary Residence

2012-06-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Using your motor home as a second residence? Jack Hungelmann advises buying cheap but effective insurance.

Claims Practices

Appraisal Only Determines Loss

2012-04-01 | Barry Zalma

In a case related by Barry Zalma, the misuse of the appraisal system and the need for competent and experienced claims people are highlighted.

Personal Risk Management

Comparing Auto-Owners Stand-Alone versus Fully Supported Personal Umbrella Policies

2012-03-30 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann compares the umbrella policies offered by Auto-Owners Insurance.

Personal Risk Management

Personal Umbrella Insurance 101

2012-02-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann answers some basic questions about personal umbrella policies.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Catastrophic Chemical Industry Losses—Structuring Coverage and Maximizing Recovery

2012-01-01 | Christopher M Brophy

Maximizing insurance coverage after a catastrophic loss is especially complex for chemical producers. Chris Brophy elaborates.

Personal Lines Claims

Personal Lines Insurance Is Getting More Personal

2012-01-01 | Elise Farnham

Technological advances, says Elise Farnham, are making the claims process more personal for insureds

Claims Practices

When an Occurrence Is Not an Occurrence: Faulty Construction Is Not an "Occurrence"

2011-12-01 | Barry Zalma

Poor construction is not considered an occurrence under a CGL policy per Kentucky court. ( article)

Personal Lines Claims

Plaintiff Duties in Personal Lines Claims

2011-11-01 | Elise Farnham

In personal lines insurance claims, plaintiffs must prove that actual damages were proximately caused by defendant's negligence ( article)

Catastrophe Risk Management

Building the Right Builders Risk Policy

2011-10-01 | Christopher M Brophy

Construction catastrophes can doom a business. Christopher Brophy explains how builders risk insurance, properly designed, can save the firm.

Claims Practices

Claims-Made Policies—Report Potential Claims Immediately

2011-10-01 | Barry Zalma

Recent caselaw shows danger of claims-made commercial general liability insurance policies. ( article)

Personal Lines Claims

Getting to the Bottom Line—Determination of Damages

2011-08-01 | Elise Farnham

Personal lines insurance claims can be difficult to quantify. Learn types of damages and factors to consider. ( article)

Personal Risk Management

Personal Risk Management: The Insurance Audit

2011-08-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Personal insurance audits involve examining the current program, reviewing all contracts, and producing a risk management audit report. ( article)

Personal Risk Management

Homecare Workers: Identifying and Managing Risks

2011-06-11 | Jack Hungelmann

Whether hiring an individual or going with an agency, risks exist. Jack Hungelmann explains.

Personal Risk Management

Managing the Risks of Groundwater Damage

2011-05-01 | Jack Hungelmann

April showers bring May floods. Jack Hungelmann examines insurance and noninsurance strategies to counter groundwater damage.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Insurance Coverage Considerations for Claims Resulting from the Japanese Earthquake

2011-04-01 | Christopher M Brophy

Assessing the impact and coverage is no simple task. Chris Brophy elaborates.

Claims Practices

Arson Conviction Upheld in Ohio; Texas Lets One Go Free

2011-04-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma reviews two recent arson cases with opposite results.

Personal Lines Claims

Black Swans on the Horizon: Expecting the Unexpected

2011-04-01 | Elise Farnham

To effectively manage future losses, Elise Farnham stresses that claims professionals and their organizations must ask, 'What if?'

Personal Risk Management

Comparing Stand-Alone Personal Umbrella Policies

2011-04-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Comparing and Analyzing Stand-Alone Personal Umbrella Policies—Read examples of large covered claims, learn who needs this coverage, and see a comparison of nine different personal umbrella forms.

Personal Risk Management

Collision Damage Waivers When Renting a Vehicle: To Buy or Not To Buy?

2011-02-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann gives 10 reasons why you should decline.

Claims Practices

Pleading the Fifth Can Forfeit Insurance Coverage

2011-01-01 | Barry Zalma

Where insureds invoke the Fifth Amendment, they may forfeit their insurance coverage. Barry Zalma explains.

Personal Lines Claims

The Art and Skill of Analyzing Coverage

2011-01-01 | Elise Farnham

For the personal lines claims professional, there is no substitute for a systematic and logical approach to coverage analysis. Elise Farnham explains.

Claims Practices

Diminution in Value

2010-08-01 | Barry Zalma

When faced with a question of diminution of value, Barry Zalma says you need to determine the applicable state law.

Personal Lines Claims

Stress-Free Claims Adjusting

2010-08-01 | Elise Farnham

While there is no single panacea for dealing with stress, Elise Farnham offers a variety of techniques that can help.

Claims Practices

Insureds and Their Public Adjuster Nephew Punished for Adding to Damage after Legitimate Loss

2010-06-01 | Barry Zalma

In New Jersey, not only does crime not pay, but if caught, you may pay three times the damages. Barry Zalma relates the case.

Personal Risk Management

Insuring "Zipcars"

2010-04-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Car-sharing may be good for the environment, but Jack Hungelmann warns it can raise personal auto insurance concerns.

Personal Risk Management

Reducing Umbrella Risks by Having One Agent

2010-03-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Keep your personal liability coverage with one insurer or one agent, advises Jack Hungelmann.

Claims Practices

Legitimate Loss becomes a Crime When Insured Lies

2010-02-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates a case proving that it doesn't pay to lie to the police and your insurer.

Personal Lines Claims

The Art of Strategic Negotiation

2010-01-01 | Elise Farnham

Becoming a skilled negotiator is vital to claims adjusters. Elise Farnham provides tips.

Personal Risk Management

Personal Risk Management—An Alternative to Insurance as Usual

2010-01-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann thinks insurance agents with broad experience in personal lines should sell their experience, not just policies.

Claims Practices

Breach of Contractor's Warranty Defeats Coverage

2009-10-01 | Barry Zalma

To succeed in an insurance claim, be sure to obtain insurance certificates as required. Barry Zalma explains.

Personal Lines Claims

"Green" Building Claim Implications

2009-10-01 | Elise Farnham

Green construction has significance for loss adjusters even when their insurer does not issue green policies. Elise Farnham explains.

Personal Risk Management

Creating a Personal Umbrella Coverage Checklist

2009-09-12 | Jack Hungelmann

An umbrella comparison form and checklist can help you pick the best umbrella policy for you. Jack Hungelmann shows how.

Personal Risk Management

Managing the Risks of a Vacant Home

2009-07-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann urges those with empty homes to consider risk management strategies and insurance implications.

Personal Risk Management

Health Insurance Advice for the Newly Laid Off

2009-06-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann outlines the new COBRA subsidy program and Q A for those scrambling to insure their families.

Claims Practices

Attorney Fees for Enforcement of Settlements in Florida

2009-05-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates cases permitting attorney fees where insureds must go to court to force claims settlement.

Personal Lines Insurance

The Underwriting Submission—Homeowners Insurance

2009-03-01 | Elise Farnham

Elise Farnham shows how important it is for producers to focus on understanding all of the risk exposures.

Claims Practices

Insurance Fraud

2009-01-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma explains that insurance fraud can only be defeated by a thorough investigation by claimspersons, investigators, and insurance coverage counsel.

Personal Lines Claims

Avoiding Bad Faith Allegations in Excess Loss Situations

2009-01-01 | Elise Farnham

Elise Farnham discusses steps claim professionals can take to avoid bad faith situations and minimize damage if they encounter them.

Claims Practices

The Examination under Oath

2008-10-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma explains why this is an important tool to help insureds prove their loss or to allow an insurer to examine the proofs of loss to avoid potential fraud.

Personal Lines Claims

Personal Lines Property Loss Adjusting—Achieving Excellence

2008-10-01 | Elise Farnham

The steps involved to achieve claims closure involve knowing the policy, the contract, textbook answers, and alternatives. Elise Farnham explains.

Personal Risk Management

Risk Management for Weddings

2008-08-16 | Jack Hungelmann

Weddings bring with them special risks not always covered by auto, home, or even umbrella policies. Jack Hunglemann explains.

Claims Practices

Insurers Need To Audit Their Vendors' Service

2008-07-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma explains why prudent insurers need to trust claims vendors while simultaneously verifying their performance.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Facility Damage Evaluation Following Major Disasters

2008-05-10 | Nathan C Gould

Dr. Nathan Gould explains why an effective facility evaluation plan should include the preparation of a Post-Disaster Facility Inspection Manual.

Claims Practices

Surprise: Insurance Is Not a Service

2008-05-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma reviews a California case concluding that insurance is neither a good nor a service, but only for the purposes of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Personal Risk Management

Choosing the Best Umbrella Policy: Case Study

2008-05-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann helps a client choose among umbrella policies to best cover liability risks not covered by primary policies.

Personal Lines Insurance

Managing Personal Automobile Insurance Risks Following Death

2008-04-18 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann illustrates the coverage pitfalls facing the survivors of the deceased's personal auto policy.

Claims Practices

Insurer Must Go to Trial on Allegations of a Fraudulent Settlement

2008-02-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma shows why insurers who settle with a general release may not be able to close the claim.

Personal Risk Management

Time to Standardize Personal Umbrella Insurance Policies

2008-02-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann points out the problems of not having standardized umbrella policies.

Claims Practices

Required Insurance Training and Continuing Education

2008-01-01 | Barry Zalma

With constant regulation changes, Barry Zalma says best practices mandate yearlong education.

Personal Lines Insurance

Demystifying Auto Rental Insurance

2007-12-08 | Mike McCracken

IRMI's Mike McCracken examines rental car coverage provided by the personal auto policy (PAP) and compares what some rental companies offer.

Personal Risk Management

Insurance for the California Wildfires

2007-11-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann answers personal lines coverage and claims questions that arise when your home is destroyed by fire.

Claims Practices

Use Licensed Experts in Claims Litigation

2007-08-01 | Barry Zalma

An Illinois decision requiring experts to be licensed in the state before testifying could be problematic. Barry Zalma explains.

Personal Risk Management

Creating and Using a Personal Umbrella Comparison Form

2007-06-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann shows the process he uses to create a comparison spreadsheet on different personal umbrella policies.

Claims Practices

The Lawyer as an Insurance Claims Expert

2007-05-01 | Barry Zalma

Contrary to popular opinion, Barry Zalma says a lawyer can make a good expert witness in an insurance claims dispute.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Defining the Characteristics of a PML Study

2007-03-01 | Nathan C Gould

A seismic/extreme wind risk assessment requires an understanding of how the risk assessment and loss data will be utilized. Dr. Nathan Gould explains.

Claims Practices

When Agents or Applicants Lie to Insurers

2007-03-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma discusses the case for rescission when full and accurate facts about the risk are not conveyed to the insurer.

Personal Risk Management

Managing the Risks of a Household Move

2007-02-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann looks at the risks of moving from one house to another, and provides strategies for handling them.

Claims Practices

Insurance Fraud Fails in L.A. Superior Court

2007-01-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma relates the importance of insurer preparation, a thorough investigation, and use of competent counsel when facing a potentially fraudulent claim.

Claims Practices

Insurer Sues Attorney for Malicious Prosecution

2006-08-01 | Barry Zalma

In a bit of a role reversal, an insurer rightly goes after an attorney who filed an apparently malicious and unfounded lawsuit against it. Barry Zalma explains.

Personal Risk Management

Managing the Townhouse/Condominium Unit Owner Risk

2006-08-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann relays the problems condo owners face when trying to obtain seamless property and liability insurance.

Claims Practices

Sharing of Information between Insurers To Fight Fraud

2006-07-01 | Barry Zalma

When insurers fail to communicate to combat fraud, no one benefits. Barry Zalma looks at legislative initiatives to stop this practice.

Personal Lines Insurance

Insuring the Home-Based Business (Part 3)

2006-07-01 | Robin K Olson

In Part 3 of this series, Rob Olson looks at the proper endorsements and policies needed to adequately protect home-based businesses.

Personal Lines Insurance

Insuring the Home-Based Business (Part 2)

2006-06-01 | Robin K Olson

In this second of three articles, Rob Olson looks at court cases involving homeowners policy restrictions and what constitutes a "business."

Personal Lines Insurance

Insuring the Home-Based Business (Part 1)

2006-05-20 | Robin K Olson

In this first of three articles, Rob Olson looks at current statistics and homeowners policy restrictions.

Claims Practices

New ISO ACV Definition and California Statute

2006-03-01 | Barry Zalma

ISO responds to claims handling difficulties caused by recent California statutory changes. Barry Zalma explains.

Personal Risk Management

Government Programs for Uninsurable Chronic Medical Conditions

2006-02-01 | Jack Hungelmann

Jack Hungelmann discusses available government programs and how they can fit into a long-range insurance plan.

Personal Risk Management

Insurance Products for Uninsurable Chronic Medical Conditions

2006-01-01 | Jack Hungelmann

The solution for those deemed uninsurable for most life, health, disability, and long-term care products is personal risk management. Jack Hungelmann explains.

Personal Risk Management

Identity Theft: a Personal Risk Management Approach (Part 3)

2005-09-17 | Robin K Olson

In the final installation of his series on identity theft, Rob Olson examines the types of coverage offered by insurance organizations and banks, and lists other reforms that are needed to address this risk.

Claims Practices

Claims in a Disaster

2005-09-01 | Barry Zalma

In light of the many natural disasters this year, insureds who have never had to deal with insurance claims adjusters are confused or intimidated by the prospect. Barry Zalma provides advice.

Claims Practices

Rescission in California

2005-08-01 | Barry Zalma

Misrepresentations or concealment of material facts - whether intentional or not 'can leave an insured without coverage, even for a legitimate claim. Barry Zalma looks at a recent case on point.

Personal Risk Management

Identity Theft: A Personal Risk Management Approach (Part 2)

2005-08-01 | Robin K Olson

What are the steps a person can take to reduce the chance of identity theft? If a theft occurs, what steps should be taken to mitigate the size and scope of the loss? Rob Olson provides some answers.

Personal Risk Management

Identity Theft: A Personal Risk Management Approach (Part 1)

2005-07-09 | Robin K Olson

Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States today, and everyone is a potential victim. In this first of three articles, Robin Olson focuses on the risk itself.

Catastrophe Risk Management

The Impact on Lifelines on the Estimation of Natural Hazard Loss

2005-07-01 | Nathan C Gould

Dr. Nathan Gould explains how loss of service of key lifelines can lead to increased downtime following a major natural disaster and significantly elevated business interruption costs.

Claims Practices

Insurance and the Law of Unintended Consequences

2005-04-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma looks at how efforts by and for the insurance industry have resulted in far greater problems: rising costs, soaring litigation, increasing fraud, and a reputation seemingly beyond repair.

Personal Risk Management

Plugging Liability Insurance Gaps with the Personal Umbrella Policy

2005-02-01 | Jack Hungelmann

While most people buy an umbrella policy for its excess coverage, including defense costs, it has far greater value as a risk management tool. Jack Hungelmann explains.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Understanding the Vulnerability of Hospitals to Natural Disasters

2004-12-01 | Nathan C Gould

If risks posed by natural hazards are not properly addressed, hospitals may themselves become victims of the disaster. James Bailey and Nathan Gould explain.

Claims Practices

Fraudulent Application Can Haunt the Broker

2004-12-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma discusses a recent California case holding that if the broker knew the application contained false information, it can be held liable to the insurer for resulting damages.

Auto Risk Management

Senior Drivers and Insurance Concerns

2004-10-23 | Robin K Olson

As baby boomers age, the number of senior drivers increases. Robin Olson discusses the importance of finding ways now to reduce the frequency and severity of automobile accidents involving elderly drivers.

Personal Lines Claims

Adjusting Residential House Fires

2004-10-09 | George Epps

Adjusting a house fire is a difficult endeavor under the best of circumstances. George Epps looks at fire claims where the coverage is on an actual cash value basis.

Claims Practices

California Supreme Court Rules: Ordinary Negligence Involving Toxic Chemicals Not Pollution

2004-09-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma examines a recent California Supreme Court ruling which concluded that the CGL pollution exclusion does not exclude ordinary acts of negligence involving toxic chemicals.

Claims Practices

Mold and Fungi Insurance Claims

2004-08-01 | Barry Zalma

"Mold is gold," according to some in the claims industry. Barry Zalma looks at the growth of these claims, the science behind them, the case law, testing, and remediation.

Claims Practices

Stacking Insurance Limits

2004-07-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma explains why it is essential to examine the law of the jurisdiction relating to stacking of policy limits and self-insured retentions before making a decision on how to handle a claim.

Personal Lines Claims

Residential Water Claims

2004-07-01 | George Epps

George Epps takes a look at residential water claims - what causes them, how repairs are handled, and why restoration contractors are often necessary.

Claims Practices

The Ethical Dilemma Caused by Fighting Fraud

2004-04-10 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma discusses the obligation to and dangers of reporting suspected fraud.

Personal Risk Management

Managing the Nanny Risk

2004-04-01 | Jack Hungelmann

In this personal risk management column, Jack Hungelmann looks at the exposure created by the hiring of a nanny rather than using a nanny service, and offers possible solutions.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Managing Extreme Wind (Hurricane) Losses

2004-03-01 | Nathan C Gould

Dr. Nathan Gould discusses extreme wind hazards, historical loss exposure, and a methodical engineered approach to effectively manage/reduce wind losses.

Personal Risk Management

Personal Risk Management: An Overview

2004-03-01 | Jack Hungelmann

In this new personal lines column, Insurance for Dummies author Jack Hungelmann outlines 16 commitments agents should make to provide quality services to their clients.

Claims Practices

Adjusting Liability Claims

2004-01-01 | Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma details the claims adjuster's job: an investigator, an insurance contract expert, and a person of empathy who fulfills the policy promises to defend and indemnify the insured.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Performance Based Seismic Design

2003-10-01 | Nathan C Gould

Dr. Nathan Gould explains Performance Based Seismic Design - what it is, how it works, and why it is the seismic design methodology of the future.

Personal Risk Management

Family Disaster Planning—Ten Key Ingredients

2003-09-20 | Robin K Olson

Disaster can strike when you're at home, work, school, or in the car. Develop a family disaster plan, communicate it, and stay vigilant.

Claims Practices

Why Insurance Fraud Succeeds

2003-09-01 | Barry Zalma

The trend to reduce legal costs through litigation management can result in inferior service and greater indemnity payments. Barry Zalma explains.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Understanding the Language of Seismic Risk Analysis

2003-07-01 | Nathan C Gould

Even for those in the industry, the terminology used in the evolving field of seismic risk analysis can be confusing. Nathan Gould provides some definitions and clarifications.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Quantifying the Risk for Progressive Collapse in New and Existing Buildings

2003-03-01 | Nathan C Gould

This is discusses quantifying the risk for progressive collapse in new and existing buildings.

Personal Lines Insurance

Wedding Insurance: a Savvy Purchase?

2003-03-01 | Robin, Olson

David Shillingford describes ways to reach out to local law enforcement and ask them how you can help them be more effective in combating equipment theft.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Earthquake Performance of Nonstructural Components

2003-01-11 | Nathan C Gould

This is discusses earthquake performance of Nonstructural components.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Optimizing the Management of Natural Disaster Exposure

2002-06-01 | Rick Clinton

Many companies feel their approach to managing their overall aggregate exposure to natural disasters is deficient. Rick Clinton examines some software and consulting options for handling the earthquake exposure.

Catastrophe Risk Management

Managing Earthquake Risk

2002-03-09 | Ron, Hamburger

Since September 11, risk managers have focused on man-made risk. However, Ron Hamburger explains the greater danger of natural catastrophes, particularly earthquakes, and how their risk should be assessed and handled.

Personal Lines Insurance

Credit-Based Insurance Scoring: a Simmering Debate

2002-03-01 | Robin K Olson

With consumer groups squarely and vehemently lined up against the insurers, and regulators caught in the middle, compromises on this issue are virtually assured.

Auto Risk Management

Auto Manufacturer Parts versus After-Market Parts: a Question of Quality

2001-11-10 | Robin K Olson

Many insurers and industry groups believe non-original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or after-market parts are the same quality as OEM parts, but are they truly of like kind and quality? This article examines the debate.

Auto Risk Management

Perceptual Diminished Value for Personal Autos

2001-04-28 | Robin K Olson

Is perceptual or psychological diminished value -- the perceptual loss of vehicle market value due to an accident -- covered under the personal auto policy? This article examines the debate, relevant case law, and ISO's response.