Air Date: 11-9-2012| Episode: 263
Wystan Ackerman is a partner of the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP in Hartford, Connecticut, where he chairs the firm’s Class Action Team…
Wystan Ackerman is a partner of the law firm of Robinson & Cole LLP in Hartford, Connecticut, where he chairs the firm’s Class Action Team. Mr. Ackerman has a national practice focusing on defending insurers and other companies in class actions and litigating insurance coverage issues. He writes the blog “Insurance Class Actions Insider” at http://www.insuranceclassactions.com/property-insurance/. A recent blog titled “Class Action on Preferred Contractor Program Filed against Allstate”caught our attention and we invited Mr. Ackerman to join us and discuss class action lawsuits as related to the disaster restoration world. We also plan to discuss current events and Hurricane Sandy vs. post-tropical cyclone Sandy.
Stormy Weather & Class Action
Wystan Ackerman, Esq., a partner in Robinson & Cole, LLP law firm in Hartford, CT, focuses on defending insurers and other companies in class actions and litigation of insurance issues was the guest on today’s episode of IAQradio.
Nuggets mined from today’s episode:
· A big issue in the settlement of property damage claims from Super Storm Sandy will be which came first the wind or the water? Teams of engineers and other experts will be called upon to answer this question and how: storm surge, wind speed, timing, and elevation contributed to the enormous property losses.
· Wind driven rain is covered under homeowners insurance.
· Flood damage is excluded unless property owner has flood insurance. Even people with flood insurance may not have sufficient insurance to cover their losses as mortgage companies only require policyholder to have sufficient flood insurance to cover the mortgage. Residential National Flood Policies have a $250K limit.
· Claims settlement Tips: pre-loss photos demonstrating preexisting conditions are very helpful and important. Take emergency measures to preserve the property, separate damaged items from undamaged items, take photos, video to document the loss.
· Higher insurance deductable are applicable for windstorm damage claims.
· Information resources for flood and hurricane damage: CDC, FEMA, AIHA, RIA, IAQA and IICRC
· Class action is a lawsuit in which one or more people called “the Class Representatives” sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a “Class” or “Class Members” One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except those who exclude themselves from the Class.
· A recent class action filing in Ohio (Boynton v Alacrity Services, LLC) against Allstate Indemnity Company and Alacrity Services LLC alleges that Allstate required a policyholder to use the services of a member of its preferred contractor network, that the quality of the work was performed poorly, that the relationship between Allstate and the program administrator wasn’t disclosed and that Allstate wrongfully passed off the cost to the policyholder.
Preferred contractor programs generally involve “price concessions” based upon volume and economies of scale which may not be reflective of the local marketplace, begging the question: when the policyholder’s choice of contractor is independent and not part of a preferred contractor program is it appropriate for him to be required to lower his prices when he doesn’t receive the benefit of additional work volume?
Today’s Music: “Perry Mason Theme” by Dick Benedictis
Z-Man signing off