Tennessee Insurance Litigation Blog

Tennessee Insurance Litigation Blog

Legal insights on insurance litigation in the State of Tennessee

The Policyholder’s Perspective from
Brandon McWherter
of Gilbert Russell McWherter Scott Bobbitt PLC
J. Brandon McWherter is a partner at Gilbert Russell McWherter Scott Bobbitt PLC, which has four Tennessee offices in Memphis, Jackson, Nashville, and Chattanooga. Read More
The Insurance Company’s Perspective from
Parks T. Chastain
of Brewer, Krause, Brooks & Chastain, PLLC
Parks T. Chastain, a member in the Nashville, Tennessee law firm of Brewer, Krause, Brooks, Chastain & Burrow, PLLC, focuses on the representation of insurers. Read More

Category Archives: Claim Tips

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Wildfires and Soot Testing

Posted in Claim Tips
As many victims of the East Tennessee wildfires are working through the claim process, this seems to be a good time for a quick word about soot testing.  Smoke and soot from the wildfires likely affected hundreds of property owners whose properties were never touched by an actual flame.  Even with no actual fire damage, the infiltration… Continue Reading


Posted in Claim Tips, Coverage Issues, Litigation Tactics
Tennessee has a statute, T.C.A. § 56-7-130, concerning insurance company requirements with respect to providing sink hole coverage and handling sink hole claims.   The statute was recently amended, and prior to July 1, 2014, was the subject of much litigation.  At issue was whether the statute requiring insurance carriers to “make available” sink hole coverage… Continue Reading


Posted in Claim Tips
On April 6, 2015, the Tennessee Court of Appeals (Western Section), decided the case of Daniel v. Allstate, No. W2014-01965-COA-R3-CV (download copy here).  In this case, the trial court had granted summary judgment to an insurer based upon the one-year contractual limitations period under the policy.  Factually, the subject property was damaged by fire on… Continue Reading

The Law of Matching in Tennessee

Posted in Claim Tips, Coverage Issues
A hail storm hits a shingled roof, but only damages a handful of shingles.  Unfortunately, the shingles on the roof are no longer manufactured, which would result in a mismatched checkerboard of colors on the roof if only the few damaged shingles were replaced.  In those circumstances, is the insurance company obligated to replace the… Continue Reading

Insureds Have Obligations Too

Posted in Claim Tips, Coverage Issues
In this age where assaults against policy conditions are common, it is good to see a court recognize that an insured has an obligation, and a burden, when seeking to recover insurance benefits.  In Meyers v. Farm Aid Association of Loudon County, No. E2103-02585-COA-R9-CV, filed December 9, 2014 (download Meyers v. Farmers Aid), the Tennessee… Continue Reading

What is the Proper Scope of Appraisal in Tennessee?

Posted in Claim Tips
In the past ten (10) years, we have seen much litigation arise concerning the proper scope of the appraisal clause. Although different policies have different provisions, the “gist” of an appraisal clause can be seen in the following policy provision: Appraisal   If we and you disagree on the amount of loss, either may make written… Continue Reading

Should Contractors Be Named As Payees On Insurance Payment Drafts?

Posted in Claim Tips
I write today to explain why insurance companies include the name of contractors on insurance payment drafts, sometimes to the chagrin of policyholders. Unfortunately, in many instances, the homeowner and his/her contractor have come to a disagreement by the time the insurance company is ready to issue the final dwelling payment, usually an amount of recoverable… Continue Reading

Answering Questions Posed About Valuation for Purposes of the Co-Insurance Penalty

Posted in Claim Tips
  We have had some excellent comments and questions on the topic of co-insurance, and specifically whether there can be any “iron-clad” or “black and white” rules as to who is responsible for any undervaluation. Obviously, the readers are concerned as to who, between the applicant/insured and the agent or company, should be held responsible for… Continue Reading

Innocent Spouse – What has the Tennessee Supreme Court signaled with respect to the innocent spouse or innocent co-insured doctrine?

Posted in Claim Tips
  Brandon has written a couple of excellent posts on the recent Tennessee Court of Appeals opinion of Tuturea v. Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company and whether the opinion calls the ability of an insurer to “end-around” (as he puts it) the innocent spouse or innocent co-insured doctrine.    I think we must look to… Continue Reading

Cowpokes and Deductibles

Posted in Claim Tips
I recently resolved a case that I thought was interesting for this day and age, particularly here in Tennessee. Here’s the scenario – an insured claims to have had cattle stolen from him on multiple occasions, but by the same person – yes, you guessed it, the “cowpoke” in our story.  It seems that our “cowpoke”… Continue Reading

An Insured Need Not Rebuild at the Same Premises in Order to Recover Replacement Cost

Posted in Claim Tips, Coverage Issues
 Parks’ recent post about whether an insured has to rebuild at the same location in order to recover replacement cost got me thinking, and then researching.  Here’s what I found: Although none in Tennessee, there are a dozen or so cases across the country dealing with the issue of whether an insured has to rebuild… Continue Reading

In Order to Invoke Replacement Cost Coverage, Does An Insured Have to Rebuild at the Same Location?

Posted in Claim Tips
In most cases, the answer is no. Most policies use replacement cost at a specific location as a measure of the maximum recovery that can be afforded under a property insurance policy. Most policies contain a “Valuation” condition similar to the following: B.         Replacement Cost – When replacement cost is shown on the “declarations” for covered property,… Continue Reading

Thoughts on Advances

Posted in Claim Tips
If you’re a reader of insurance blogs, I’m certain you’ve read the recent warfare between Parks Chastain and Chip Merlin.  They both make good points on the issue of advance payments (see their posts here and here).  The truth is that there really is very little law in Tennessee concerning advance payments.  Even so, Tennessee’s… Continue Reading

Policyholder’s Advocate’s Blog Questioning Misconceptions on Advances Shows Extent of Misconceptions, and the Reasons Why They Are Problematic

Posted in Claim Tips
  William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr., of the Merlin Law Group, wrote a blog in which he derided (a nice word) the blog I posted on August 18, entitled “Advances-Common Misconception.” Mr. Merlin is a Plaintiff’s/Policyholder’s Attorney. (www.merlinlawgroup.com). His website describes him as “The Policyholder’s Advocate.” His advocacy is evident as his comments concerning advances misunderstand… Continue Reading

Advances – Common Misconceptions

Posted in Claim Tips
  I want to address some misconceptions about advances under first party policies. By this, I mean a request for money made by an insured before the investigation is complete. While the circumstances of an insured’s loss often place the insured in a difficult financial situation, that situation does not alter the insurance contract. Therefore, let’s debunk some… Continue Reading

Tennessee Court Of Appeals Rules That Submission To Examination Under Oath Is Condition Precedent To Recovery

Posted in Claim Tips
I commend to your reading the recent case of Spears v. Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, No. M2008-00842-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Middle Section), filed July 17, 2009. For a PDF copy of this case, download here (pdf). In this case, the Court was presented with the question of whether the failure of an insured to answer questions… Continue Reading

Examinations Under Oath and Depositions are Different

Posted in Claim Tips
  I cannot count the number of times I have had an insured’s lawyer misunderstand the difference between these two proceedings. Depositions and examinations under oath are different activities. Cases recognize that “depositions and examinations under oath serve different purposes.” Nationwide Ins. Co. v. Nilsen, 745 So. 2d 264, 268 (Ala. 1999); accord Goldman v. State Farm Fire… Continue Reading