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R2R Meeting 19 ppt

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September 11, 2008

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R2R Meeting 19 ppt

  1. 1. Roadmap to Recovery Meeting 19: Sept. 11, 2008 Protecting Your Legal Rights at the One Year Anniversary Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Karen Reimus, Esq. www.unitedpolicyholders.org
  2. 2. We remember 9/11/01
  3. 3. Upcoming Schedule <ul><li>October 2 nd : Break-out session </li></ul><ul><li>October 13 th : Supper and evening program at RBCPC commemorating the 1 year anniversary </li></ul><ul><li>November 6 th : Road to Recovery Presentation </li></ul>
  4. 4. PBS Program on Underinsurance
  5. 5. Fine print: <ul><li>The information provided in this program is intended for general educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice </li></ul><ul><li>The speakers at today’s program are volunteering their time as educators </li></ul><ul><li>Neither United Policyholders nor the Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church endorse or warrant the quality or services of any volunteer speakers. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Our heartfelt thanks to: <ul><li>The Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church </li></ul><ul><li>RBCPC Fire Recovery Ministry </li></ul><ul><li>All our UP Mentors and Sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>The speakers at tonight’s meeting </li></ul>
  7. 7. Gregory L. Bentley, Esq. <ul><li>Partner - Shernoff, Bidart, Darras and Echevarria: A law firm that represents policyholders in resolving insurance coverage and claim disputes </li></ul><ul><li>15 years experience successfully litigating many cases, including insurance bad faith, denial of HMO coverage, fire loss, art theft, wrongful death & personal injury matters </li></ul><ul><li>Has successfully tried over 20 cases to verdict with 8 settlements and verdicts of over $1 million dollars </li></ul><ul><li>Counseled and represented many 2003 wildfire survivors who were underinsured </li></ul><ul><li>Partner Ricardo Echevarria won one of the only 2003 underinsurance cases to go through a </li></ul><ul><li>full trial to a jury verdict </li></ul>
  8. 8. Roadmap to Recovery Meeting 19: Sept. 11, 2008 Protecting Your Legal Rights at the One Year Anniversary Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Amy Bach, Esq. www.unitedpolicyholders.org
  9. 9. Preserving your legal rights before the one year anniversary <ul><li>Many insurance companies have a provision labeled “Suit Against Us” that says you have ONE year to file a lawsuit relating to your claim under the policy </li></ul><ul><li>Some states have laws that override this provision </li></ul><ul><li>You can protect your right to file a lawsuit by sending your insurance company a simple letter before the one year anniversary mark. </li></ul>
  10. 10. What if I’m not planning on suing my insurer? <ul><li>Even if you are not planning on suing your insurer, it important to protect your right to do so </li></ul><ul><li>Once you lose your right to sue, you lose virtually all leverage to get an insurer to make further payments on a claim. </li></ul>
  11. 11. “ Statutes of Limitations” a.k.a. Deadlines <ul><li>In every state there are laws called “Statutes of Limitations” that set deadlines for filing lawsuits </li></ul><ul><li>Depending on the event, the deadline may be one, two, three or more years… </li></ul><ul><li>Once the deadline passes, you lose your right to sue. </li></ul>
  12. 12. More on…“Statutes of Limitations” <ul><li>If your deadline passes you lose your right to sue, unless you’re able to persuade a Judge to make an exception </li></ul><ul><li>However, Judges generally enforce these deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Some contracts, including insurance policies, contain their own deadlines </li></ul>
  13. 13. WHY the deadlines? <ul><li>To encourage people to promptly resolve disputes and to keep evidence fresh. </li></ul>
  14. 14. What if the state law deadlines and the insurance policy deadlines are different? <ul><li>If state law gives you more than a year, that law rules </li></ul><ul><li>Otherwise, the one year deadline in your policy will apply </li></ul><ul><li>CA. law requires your insurer to notify you 60 days before a statutory or contract suit limitation runs out </li></ul>
  15. 15. HOW to stop the clock <ul><ul><li>Your Insurer will usually extend the lawsuit deadline if… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You ask in writing to extend the lawsuit deadline AND give a good reason </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Insurance Commissioners office tells them they should. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. HOW to stop the clock in California <ul><li>California, among other states, have “case laws” (laws made up by judges) that stop the deadline clock ticking while your claim is being adjusted. </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of having a year from the date of the fire, you have a year from the date your insurance claim is closed or denied </li></ul><ul><li>This is called “ Tolling .” The lawsuit deadline is being “tolled” while your claim is being adjusted. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Back to the letter…what’s in it? (see sample letter) <ul><li>You are writing your insurance company to confirm your understanding that: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your claim is still open and being processed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your insurer will not be enforcing any lawsuit limitation provision in the policy until a year after it has closed your claim. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Your insurer will notify you in writing when they close your claim and/or pay all they intend to pay., </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. How to send the letter <ul><li>Send it certified. </li></ul><ul><li>Request a return receipt. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a copy and keep it in a safe place where you will be able to find it in the future. </li></ul><ul><li>Even if they don’t respond, you’ve got a written record. </li></ul><ul><li>To be extra safe, send copies via e-mail and fax as well. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Learn the laws <ul><li>To learn more about the laws, consult a policyholder attorney </li></ul><ul><li>Use United Policyholders “find help” section as a starting point </li></ul><ul><li>www.uphelp.org </li></ul>
  20. 20. Education = Money <ul><li>We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the event that caused a loss for which you have filed an insurance claim </li></ul><ul><li>To be sure you don’t lose the leverage you need to enforce your rights to a fair settlement, </li></ul><ul><li>Write a simple letter to preserve your rights </li></ul>
  21. 21. For More Information: <ul><li>Visit UP’s website and search for more claim tips, articles and helpful info at: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.uphelp.org </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 23. The City Attorney’s Office Investigation The San Diego City Attorney’s Office is undertaking an investigation into alleged overcharging by two demolition contractors hired by the City of San Diego to clear land of victims of the wildfires in 2007. The Attorney’s Office is seeking to speak to individuals who were victims of the wildfires and who have hired contractors – either through the City program or a private demolition contractor – to talk about their experience. All information discussed will remain confidential. Contact Kevin Christensen , an Investigator for the City Attorney’s Office. Kevin can be reached at (619) 533-6573 or at [email_address] .
  23. 24. Upcoming Schedule <ul><li>October 2 nd : Break-out session </li></ul><ul><li>October 13 th : Supper and evening program at RBCPC commemorating the 1 year anniversary </li></ul><ul><li>November 6 th : Road to Recovery Presentation </li></ul>
  24. 25. Break Out Sessions <ul><li>Groups will meet here in the Sanctuary </li></ul>

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