First party property claims are a very unique area of law. Lawsuits involving homeowner’s and commercial insurance policies can be complex and arduous. A case can hinge on the language in the insurance policy and the way courts interpret that language. Many policies have specific exclusions for coverage that require interpretation. In this presentation, Jason Cieri and Nicole Vinson, Counsel in the New York and Florida offices of Merlin Law Group, discuss specifics of property insurance policies including exclusions, post-loss obligations of insureds, the crucial differences between renters versus homeowners insurance, and how to handle insurance companies that deny property coverage claims.
I. Understand how various exclusion language under the insurance policy impacts coverage
II. Recognize what the insured is obligated to do prior to a law suit being filed
III. Gain tips on how to move forward with your property insurance case after denial
As a 6th generation attorney, Nicole Vinson prides herself on always taking the extra time needed to really focus on the details of her clients and their claims, in order to provide a strategic and detail-orientated approach to expedite the claim and the litigation.
Ms. Vinson handles claims caused by windstorm, hurricane, hail, sinkhole, fire, smoke, water damage and flood, freeze damage, collapse, theft, and vandalism. Ms. Vinson has also helped policyholders recover benefits for life insurance claims, business income losses, extra expense coverage claims, and matters of unfair claims handling and bad faith.
Ms. Vinson is extremely proud of each person and business that she has represented, and feels a great sense of gratitude for the ability to assist her clients in getting a just result.
“I know many of my clients would have eventually thrown in the towel if they had to face the carriers alone. This is an area of the law where you know you are truly helping someone receive something that was promised to them under an agreement. While the work we do is based on a contract, the material that is at stake is very important—it is someone’s home or business. Next to family, our clients’ most important assets have been compromised, and the depth of what it is like to lose your home to a fire or your business to hurricane is personal. My clients purchased insurance and contemplated that, should something bad happen, they would be covered and paid. Now, they have lost what is precious to them and are not receiving the assistance and the response from the insurance company that they deserve. Insurance companies shouldn’t judge people but they do, and often people are judged harshly by insurance companies and don’t receive their benefits. It is my job to show the breach of the promise and the improper actions of the insurance company…the result is very rewarding, my clients often get their lives back.”
Since June 2010, Ms. Vinson has posted a Saturday blog on the Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog on breaking news and fresh insurance and adjusting topics. Ms. Vinson frequently meets with representatives and political leaders about property insurance rates, laws and proposed changes. She has testified to the legislature on topics related to property insurance, sinkholes and the protection of policyholder rights.
As you can see, Ms. Vinson is truly passionate about her advocacy for her clients and Merlin Law Group is very fortunate to have such a hardworking, dedicated, and energetic attorney on the team.
Nicole C. Vinson Selected as a Member of the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s Homeowner’s Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group in Tallahassee.
Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Smith Westcott, appointed by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, brought together representatives from all aspects of the insurance claims process to launch the Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group in July, 2013. Nicole Vinson was invited to be a part of this group because of her work with Merlin Law Group where she represents policyholders against insurance companies for property damage claims. During the live televised meetings, Nicole was able to voice the concerns of Florida’s policyholders based on her experience and extensive knowledge of the nightmare claim situations that plague policyholders during both the insurance buying process and claims handling process endured during a loss.
Blogs on point:
Florida’s Homeowners’ Policy & Claims Bill of Rights Working Group Meets Tomorrow
Reporting Live from Tallahassee’s Policyholder’s Working Group
Consumer Advocate Meetings Continue with the Mission to Help Floridans with Insurance Problems
Update on Florida’s Homeowners Property Insurance Bill of Rights
Jason M. Cieri focuses his practice of law in the area of first party property damage cases and insurance agent negligence. He is a former Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor working in the appellate, juvenile, pre-indictment court and a trial lawyer before the Honorable Judge Frederick Theemling and he will use the experience gained while working in the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office to defend those who were cheated by their insurance companies from the monies they deserve.
Jason M. Cieri, a life-long New Jersey resident, is an associate at Merlin Law Group. Prior to joining Merlin, Mr. Cieri was an assistant prosecutor in Hudson County, New Jersey where he litigated numerous criminal cases and conducted jury trials. He handled cases throughout the entire criminal process from presenting the case to the Grand Jury for indictment to plea negotiations and resolution of the matter.
Prior to his work as an assistant prosecutor, Mr. Cieri graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law and was also able to obtain his Series 6, 63 and Life Insurance licenses before to attending law school. He attended college at The Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, Maryland. During his time at Johns Hopkins he was a student athlete, playing baseball for the top 10 ranked Blue Jays all four years of matriculation. He was named co-captain of the team his senior year and received several conference and regional awards for his work on the ball field as a student athlete. He graduated with a degree in international relations in 2003.
Very well done course. Like the conversational format between two presenters. Excellent materials and information. Policy forms are very difficult to see on the slides. Would be better to have them in a separate PDF. Outline handout is excellent.
It felt like a good tips fort a homeowner sort if program
Very good course on basics of first party insurance claims. Good refresher.
Excellent presentation. Very informative.
I liked having two instructors instead of just listening to one lecturer.
enjoyed the course. Have been a homeowner for many years, and did not know much of the info given. Thanks.
Very interesting course.
Good format change with the discussion/interview concept. The discussion and speakers' familiarity with each other passed the time quickly.
Great Course from these two attorneys
Ms. Vinson was very good
The speakers were both knowledgeable and prepared.
good discussion of topic that could be dull
Interesting and informative
easy to use
Both well versed & excellent speakers. Great lecture
It was a nice change to have a duo of presenters for this CLE.
Good coverage of many interesting areas.