After the 1991 Oakland Hills fire and the 2003 Southern California wildfires, legislators discovered through public hearings an additional aspect of the danger wildfires pose to homeowners: underinsurance. Legislation was enacted to remedy this situation. Nonetheless, when large wildfires struck Southern California in 2007 and 2008, state officials realized again the underinsurance problem persisted.
Data from the 2007 wildfires showed that 74% of the homeowners were underinsured by an average of $240,000. To address these concerns, the Insurance Commissioner proposed new regulations and amendments to existing regulations, and in 2010 strong and strict guidelines were put into place.
My clients are fighting these insurers and I am disgusted with what we are uncovering: Attorneys playing slick; adjusters deceiving their insureds; agents and brokers who over-promised and under-delivered. Like the rest of us, when buying insurance to cover their homes, each owner was asked questions by the agents/brokers, like the year the home was purchased, square footage, price, foundation, etc.; each owner was told the insurer would issue a policy; and each was told that when the premium was paid, the coverage would begin. In each case, the insurer calculated the policy limits and the annual premium. The homeowners believed their insurers, paid their premiums, and found comfort knowing that their homes were protected.
When these homeowners bought their policies, they trusted and believed the insurance agents and brokers. Where are these “Good Hands” people now?
Now, after the 2014 fire, homeowners are being told by the very same insurers who calculated the limits that the coverage limits are grossly inadequate. When these homeowners bought their policies, they trusted and believed the insurance agents and brokers; they trusted and believed the “Good Hands People” of Allstate; the “Like a Good Neighbor” agents of State Farm; the brokers and agents for the insurer whose memorable jingle is, “Nationwide is on Your Side.” But where’s Peyton Manning now? Where is “We are Farmers, dum da dum-dum, da dum dum”? And where are these supposed “Good Hands” people?
When the 2014 homeowners complained to their insurers, the insurance companies responded with: Well, I guess you should not have believed us when you bought that policy.
In 2018-2020, these claims will go to trial in Siskiyou County. It’s time we come together to rebuild our town and to tell these insurers that 1991, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2014 are far too many warnings. The question I ask now: Why should the insurers get so many warnings when the insured, who misses one single premium payment, gets a nasty letter that coverage is being canceled?
Landlord owns the building. Tenant runs a restaurant. The lease has more than 10 years left.
Property values in this part of town are starting to skyrocket. Landlord wants to get rid of the Tenant so that Landlord can sell the building to a high-rise condo developer. Tenant wants to stay, as the rising real estate prices are bringing a wealthier set of customers to the restaurant. These competing interests are about to collide, and the courthouse is about to be center stage.
An earthquake destroys the restaurant, but fortunately it’s insured. Landlord receives the insurance check for the repairs, but then drags his feet in having a contractor do the repairs, hoping that the delay will ruin the restaurant and perhaps cause the Tenant to miss his monthly payments and therefore breach the lease.
The delay in construction does, in fact, cause the Tenant to fall behind in the monthly lease payments. Landlord sues Tenant for falling behind with the rent – the Landlord’s scheme is working and soon this restaurant Tenant will be gone and the building can be sold to the high-rise condo developer. But this Tenant is not to be toyed with. Tenant decides to retain an attorney.
After a protracted legal battle, Landlord pays well over a half million dollars to “resolve matters” with Tenant.
Since 1990 The O'Connor Law Firm has achieved results for clients in and out of the courtroom. We have offices in Northern California, Southern California, Nevada, and South Lake Tahoe. Call us at (916) 467-8000 or send us a message to find out how we can help you.
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