Welcome to Halloin | Murdock’s insurance coverage blog. We have created this blog to provide in an informal setting our insights and commentary on insurance coverage issues, insurance disputes, court decisions, industry news, and our general musings. To launch this blog we intend to begin with a multi-part series providing an overview of insurance coverage and a discussion of the history of insurance, the different types of insurance, and the rules for interpreting insurance policies, their coverage, and their exclusions. We will also discuss extra-contractual liability such as insurance bad faith.
Halloin | Murdock understands that you rely on insurance to be there when you need it. Your family’s future is at risk when your home is damaged or when you are sued because of an accident. When the worst happens, you count on your insurance company to help get you back on your feet. That’s why you spent your hard-earned money on premiums for those insurance policies.
The truth is that insurance companies are very good at exploiting our fears in their marketing by assuring us that they will be there when we need them. As the insurance companies’ advertisements tell us, they are our “Good Neighbor,” we’ll be in their “Good Hands,” they are the “Silver Lining,” and they’ll give us “Peace of Mind.” But from the insurance companies’ perspective, your covered loss is simply one more number on financial report that reduces their profits. Some insurance companies will do almost anything to protect their corporate profits, by taking uninformed or even absurd positions regarding the scope of what their policies cover or the amount that their policies obligate them to pay you after a loss.
After a loss, many policyholders learn the hard way that insurance companies’ marketing differs dramatically from reality. Lest we be accused of being cynical, consider the following exchange from a court hearing at which two of our attorneys recently appeared:
THE COURT: So, what does the insurance policy insure? Can you give me an example of something that they actually do pay coverage for out of the premiums they collect?
INSURANCE COMPANY’S LAWYER: I’ve been spending so much effort going the opposite way. If there was–If there was somebody that was–an adjacent building, then that would probably be covered. If there was negligent work that caused the building to fall down and injure an adjacent building or a puppy or something.
Halloin | Murdock believes that insurance coverage should extend beyond damage to adjacent buildings and injured puppies (although we do like our neighbors next door and their adorable puppies). Our insurance recovery team was formed to make insurance companies honor their promises to policyholders and help policyholders favorably resolve their insurance disputes. Indeed, the judge in the previous example agreed with us and determined that the insurance company’s obligations were not so narrow. Halloin | Murdock—expanding coverage beyond pets and neighbors.