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Construction Law Authority / Disaster Preparation and Recovery

Insurance Considerations post-Baltimore

Let me start with the caveat that I am not getting into the political or race issues at the heart of recent events in Baltimore. However, from the point-of-view of someone working in construction and insurance law, the insurance and rebuilding questions created by the protests/riots in these cities is of great interest. Although the specific article here references insurance issues and struggles to rebuild in Maryland, similar concerns and analyses would apply anywhere that such events take place. As the article from Insurance Business America notes, many small businesses have been unable to reopen post damage as they are caught in a web of what is and is not covered under their applicable policies. Many questions loom: does the property insurance policy afford coverage; what about the Business Interruption policy; what are the applicable deductibles? As is typical of any insurance coverage the devil is in the details of the specific...

Citizens Property Insurance Not Liable for First Party Bad Faith Claims

Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court issued its opinion in Citizens Property Insurance Corp., v. Perdido Sun Condominium Association, Inc., considering the issue as to whether Citizens Property Insurance could be liable for First Party Bad Faith Claims.  The Supreme Court determined that Citizens was not liable for such claims and that no exception for such claims existed from Citizens statutory immunity.  This places Citizens in a different position, in regard to insureds, than other insurance carriers who may be offering similar property policies. The issue in was whether the Legislature intended CitizensProperty Insurance Corporation, a state-created entity that provides property insurance, to be liable for statutory first-party bad faith claims as an exception to its statutory immunity from suit.  The issue had come before the Supreme Court from the First District's decision in Perdido Sun Condominium Ass’n v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp., 129 So. 3d 1210 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014), which...

Preparing for the 2015 Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season is defined as running from June 1 through November 30.  No one bothered to tell that to Tropical Storm Ana which hit South Carolina over the weekend.  The Ana had sustained winds of 45 mph at landfall and brought anywhere between 2"-6" of rain depending on location.  The early start of the hurricane season does not mean that we will necessarily have more hurricanes or what the severity of those hurricanes will be.  However, it is always good to be prepared and plan ahead. The next few weeks will be important to finalize, or even start, our personal and business hurricane preparedness plans.  Even if you do not have one yet there is still time to prepare. Below is a 12-point Hurricane Preparedness Checklist for condominium and homeowner associations to prepare for the 2015 hurricane season: 1. Disaster Plan – If you have a disaster plan be ready...

Tropical Storm Isaac – Update

Isaac is slowly moving and appears to be taking a more westward trajectory.  Per the National Hurricane Center: A Hurricane Warning is in effect for: The Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, The West Coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward and Florida Bay. This means that hurricane conditions are expected in these areas and the tropical storm force winds can be expected in 36 hours. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Florida East Coast from Golden Beach southward. This means that hurricane conditions are possible (as opposed to expected) within the next 24-36 hours. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for: Inland Collier County, the Florida East Coast from Jupiter Inlet southward and Lake Okeechobee. This means that tropical storm conditions are expected in these areas within 36 hours. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Florida East Coast north of Jupiter Inlet to Sebastian Inlet. This means that tropical storm conditions...

Hurricane Isaac Preparedness

As of 8AM this morning, the entire state of Florida is in the 5-day projected path for Tropical Storm Isaac. Isaac is predicted to become a hurricane before hitting Cuba. If you want to follow Isaac's path you can go to www.noaa.gov and do so. Although things may change it is always best to be prepared. For individuals this means securing adequate food, water and medication as well as ensuring personal safety along with the safety of loved ones and pets. For Condominium and Homeowner Associations Becker & Poliakoff has a 12-point Hurricane Preparedness Checklist to prepare for Hurricane Isaac: 1. Disaster Plan – If you have a disaster plan be ready to implement it. At a minimum, designate a responsible community member as Disaster Plan Coordinator and another as Information Facilitator to field queries and respond to from community members. These individuals should be outside the impacted areas so that they...

Governor Declares State of Emergency

As a result of Tropical Storm Debby, the Governor has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in the entire state of Florida.  The order does several things including (I will not go through the entire list here): - Activates the State's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and appoints the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer ("SCO"). - Activates the Florida National Guard and places them under the direction of the SCO. - Allows state, regional and local agencies to deviate from statutes, rules and orders to the extent that such actions are needed to cope with the emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, budgeting, leasing, travel, conditions of employment and compensation of employees. This provision expires within 30 days of the order unless extended by the Governor. - Allows pharmacists to dispense a 30-day prescription refill for maintenance medication. - Gives Agency heads the authority to abrogate any applications for permits and licenses...

Hurricane Season – Disaster Planning Webinar Q and A

As readers of this blog know, one June 1 we put on a webinar to begin preparations for hurricane season. The webinar is available here under the title Disaster Planning for the 2011 Hurrican Season: Are You Ready to Weather the Storm? for those who were unable to join us live. During the course of the webinar we received a number of questions we were unable to answer live due to time constraints. I have listed below some of those questions and the answers. For the sake of clarity and brevity some of the questions have been modified. As always, the below answers are not intended to be legal advice but solely informational.   Q- Can the Board of Directors of a Condominium Association forbid owners and/or guests from entering the property after a natural disaster.  A- Generally, for the Association to prohibit access to the condominium a governmental entity would have to declare the building or surrounding area to...

LIVE WEBINAR

Disaster Planning for the 2011 Hurricane Season - Are You Ready to Weather the Storm? Wednesday, June 1, 2011 10:00 AM– 11:00 AM EDT (9:00 AM – 10:00 PM CDT) Hurricane Season is officially here. While we have had a couple of years in Florida that have perhaps lulled us into a certain complacency, the prediction in 2011 is for nine hurricanes in the Atlantic. Are you ready to weather the storm? Join Bill Strop, who will moderate this webinar, and Rob Rubin and Sanjay Kurian, to learn about recent cases and experiences resulting from recent disasters that will affect how you prepare yourself and your community before the storms hit. William Strop, Esq. Fort Lauderdale Sanjay Kurian, Esq. Fort Myers Robert I. Rubin Esq. West Palm Beach . Click here to register and you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to participate ...