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Minneapolis Insurance Law Blog

Insurers like delays

For an insurance company, delays are always good. Especially when they already have your money. Which they do. If you fail to pay a premium on time, they can cancel your policy and refuse to pay any claims made after they claim your policy was no longer in place. However, if you have a loss, they can delay payment for months or years, often for invalid or illegal reasons. 

To prevent this, there are what are known as "bad faith" suits, where insurers can be sued for intentionally failing to pay a valid claim. But, again, these suits take time, and if you are a Minnesota homeowner and your property suffered damage in a storm, you may not have time to wait before you repair the damage.

Dues Acceleration - Demystifying the When, How, and Why

One of the common issues Minnesota Homeowner's Associations face is what to do with the homeowner who refuses to pay their dues. The Association has many tools to deal with this type of situation - one of which is the option to accelerate annual dues. This means that instead of having 12 equal installments of monthly dues, all installments for the fiscal year would be combined and deemed immediately due as a lump sum. This practice, when applied correctly, helps protect the Association's bottom line and encourages payment. Acceleration, however, is only authorized in certain specific situations. This article is a guide to understanding whether your association has the legal authority to accelerate dues and the proper steps to doing so successfully.

Are you sure you know what your insurance covers?

We all know that language changes over time. Sometimes the meaning of a word expands. Sometimes it contracts. The word "dog" is an example. It's a term that applies to any breed of the canine variety. But there was a time when "hound" was the preferred word and "dog" was used in reference to a particularly big, fierce animal.

Those with experience in the law recognize that such shifts can cause a lot of problems. In the area of the property insurance, changing interpretations of a single word might mean that a risk issue that a Minnesota property owner legitimately thought was covered by a policy now is not. Insurance companies look to take advantage of such changes to protect their best interests. To protect individual property owner interests, consulting skilled legal counsel is advised.

Was my insurance claim denied unfairly?

Paying for insurance can be a frustrating financial obligation. You know that you need to so you can have health, home and car insurance, but you also hope that you never go through an experience that results in having to file a claim. 

This is why it can be so devastating when an insurance claim is denied. In most cases, you may be reeling from an accident, injuries or damage to your property, and the only peace of mind you might have is the assurance that insurance will take care of everything. If your claim is denied or delayed, it can be crucial that you establish whether that decision was made lawfully or not.

Lender-placed insurance may be risky for consumers

In some ways, insurance is like taxes. Most of us would prefer not to have to carry coverage or fork over hard-earned income to government, whether it's to Bloomington, Hennepin County or the state. That's not the way Minnesota law works, however. Certain insurance policies and tax payments are required. It's not just for the protection of individuals, but also for the good of the society generally.

Consumers usually can take advantage of provisions in the laws to minimize their taxes. When it comes to getting insurance, they can shop around for the best deal. The main issue then might be that the insurer fails to act in good faith on a claim.

RSJ Enforces Homeowners Appraisal Rights Despite Insurance Companies Objection

RSJ attorney Alexander Jadin helped another homeowner compel an insurance company to participate in the appraisal process pursuant to the terms of its policy.   In the case of Rudd v. Chubb, the insurance company refused to go to appraisal to resolve the cause and amount of the loss. 

Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (MCIOA)

The Minnesota Common Interest Ownership Act (Minnesota Statute § 515B), commonly referred to as MCIOA, is a Minnesota state law that governs the operation of condominium associations and other common interest communities. MCIOA provides legal authority to address issues that frequently affect common interest communities.

Is your home exposed to environmental risks?

When you have a home, you know you have to insure it to protect it from the usual risks. There is always a chance that you could have a fire or that a wind or hail storm could strike and damage your property. In some areas, including Minnesota, at certain times of the year, there is the risk of a tornado or even potential for flooding. And your homeowner's policy also probably includes some level of protection for personal liability, such as would be needed in the case of someone being injured on your premises.

But there may be additional risks that you may not anticipate. A recent risk index was released that catalogs the various environmental risks of the nation's housing stock. The report found that there are 17.3 million residences located in high-risk zip codes. The index analyzed more than 8,000 zip codes and classified different types of environmental risk to which those homes were exposed.

One dam thing after another

The crisis at the Oroville Dam and the evacuation of 200,000 people have focused attention, at least briefly, on the subject of dams in the U.S., and their ability to continue to function. There are thousands of large and small dams across the country, and many of them are at or beyond their designed life expectancy.

Most are not high-profile dams like Oroville or Hoover that provide water, power and flood control for significant portions of the population. Ironically, these dams are typically actively maintained. Oroville is a danger because of its size and the damage a failure could leave behind, but there are 84,000 dams in the U.S., and many are small and were often built away from population centers.