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William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr.

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Insurance Coverage Attorney in Tampa, FL

Merlin Law Group, P.A.
777 South Harbour Island Boulevard, Suite 950
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: 813-229-1000
Fax: 813-229-3692
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2022
Licensed in Florida Since: 1983
Practice Areas: Insurance Coverage
Attorney Profile

The founder and president of the Merlin Law Group, P.A., in Tampa, Florida, William F. "Chip" Merlin Jr. is a plaintiff's insurance law attorney who has been representing insurance policyholders in Florida, Mississippi and other areas since 1983. While he is knowledgeable about a broad array of insurance disputes, from claims dealing with life insurance and medical bills to residential and commercial property claims, Mr. Merlin has established a considerable national presence as an advocate for clients whose livelihood and property have been devastated by hurricanes. He represented clients in storm damage claims litigation following Hurricane Hugo near the beginning of his career, and he went on to litigate claims on behalf of victims of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina in 1992 and 2005, respectively. He has authored numerous articles on hurricane damage claims, indemnity and losses, and wildfire claims.

Mr. Merlin also represents clients in bad faith claims, coverage disputes, agent negligence and business income loss cases. In addition to litigation, he handles alternative dispute resolution matters and takes appeals cases. He is board certified by The Florida Bar in civil trial law.

Mr. Merlin earned his law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he served as the executive editor of the university's law review. He is licensed to practice in several states, including Florida, California, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Texas and Tennessee. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Florida and the Southern District of Texas. Widely respected among his peers, Mr. Merlin received the highest possible rating with Martindale-Hubbell, AV-Preeminent* in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He was also listed among Florida Trend magazine's Legal Elite from 2004 to 2012.

*AV-Preeminent and BV-Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.

Practice Areas
  • 100%Insurance Coverage


16 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2022

Certificates and Credentials

Articles about William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr. appearing in Super Lawyers

White Papers

William F. Merlin Jr., Insurance Attorney- Super Lawyers

Florida Insurance Dispute Attorney, William F. Merlin Jr.- National Insurance Claim Dispute Lawyer

About William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr.

First Admitted: 1983

Professional Webpage:

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • "Rules of the Road: A Different Methodology For Proving Duty and Breach" - Florida Justice Association Winter CLE Seminar, December 2007
  • "The Perfect Game, Best practices for claims handling when it comes to maximizing the recovery for a client" - NAPIA/MAPIA, 2008
  • "Delay of Game" - Panel discussion of specific types of business interruption claims, NAPIA/MAPIA, 2008
  • "What Even Seasoned Attorneys Need to Know About Current Techniques of Persuasion When Discussing Issues of Insurer Misconduct" - Florida Justice Association, 2008
  • "Who's on First? Excess Policies and Multiple Insurers" - Windstorm Insurance Conference, 2008
  • "Is Your Association really Ready for Another Hurricane in 2008?" - CAI North Gulf Coast Chapter, 2008
  • "The Rules of the Game, A discussion comparing and contrasting the rules, regulations, and requirements for Northeastern U.S. and the Gulf Coast states" - NAPIA/MAPIA, October 2008
  • "How Ethical and Knowledgeable Claims Handling Adds Value to Your Clients Claim" - NAPIA Mid-Year Meeting, 2008
  • "Electronic Discovery Concerns for Adjusters, Insurers, and Policyholders: What you May Not Know Can Hurt You" - WIND, 2009
  • "Successful Solicitations and Salutations: Sell and Close Right to Succeed" - FAPIA, 2009
  • "Maximizing Recovery: Best practices and surrounding Law and Ordinance coverage, ACV, RCV, Matching, and Building Codes" - Seminar for Texas Public Adjusters, 2009
  • "Fact or Fiction: Expert analysis of Hurricane Ike" - Seminar for Texas Public Adjusters, 2009
  • "The Process Matters: Appraisals, Prompt Payment and Bad Faith in Texas" - Seminar for Texas Public Adjusters, 2009
  • "The Merlin Guide: How to ethically and efficiently adjust claims in Texas" - Seminar for Texas Public Adjusters, 2009
  • "Speed Adjusting: A Fast and Furious Look at the Concerns and Considerations of Insurance Claims and How They Can Affect Public Adjusting" - FAPIA Summer Conference, 2009
  • "Science of Roof Damages" - First Party Claims Conference, 2009
  • "Subrogation - Do's and Don't's" - First Party Claims Conference, 2009
  • "Gulf Coast Case Law Update" - WIND, January 2010
  • "Proofs of Loss, EUOs, & Requests for Documentation" - FAPIA Winter Conference 2010
  • "Learning From Those on the Other Side of Claims Negotiations: Persuasive, Professional, and Ethical Techniques of Adjustment for the Policyholder" - FAPIA Summer Conference, 2010
  • "The Ultimate Seminar for Public Adjusters: Ethical Issues for Presenting Claims" - CE Seminar for Public Adjusters, April 2010
  • "The Ultimate Roofing Seminar" - CE Seminar for Public Adjusters, April 2010
  • "What Texas Public Adjusters Should Be Doing Ethically and Professionally Regarding Hurricanes Dolly and Ike Claims" - TAPIA Annual Meeting, 2010
  • "Fantastic Adjustment Results Through Professionalism and Ethical Conduct: Tips From the Masters and Lessons From the School of Hard Knocks" - NAPIA Annual Meeting, June 2010
  • "Understanding the Valuation Issues of the Gulf Oil Spill" - HB Litigation Conferences Presents Oil in the Gulf – Litigation and Insurance Coverage, June 2010
  • "Learning From Those on the Other Side of Claims Negotiation: Persuasive, Professional, and Ethical Techniques of Adjustment for the Policyholder" - FAPIA, June 2010
  • "The Ultimate Seminar for Public Adjusters™: Ethical Issues for Presenting Claims" - CE Seminar for Public Adjusters, May 2011
  • "Ethical Requirements of Public Adjusters and What Experienced and Advanced Public Adjusters Should Have Included in Their Claim" - FAPIA Summer Conference, July 2011
  • "Anticipating Manmade and Natural Disaster Trends That Impact Business" - SAFOB, September 2011
  • "What Should Be in a Claim File" - FPCC, October 2011
  • "Don't Get Burnt Adjusting Wildfire Claims!" - TAPIA Fall Conference, November 2011
  • "Turning Disaster Into Opportunity - What Restoration Professionals Can Do to Help Catastrophe Victims, Contribute to Economic Recovery and Make a Profit" - Restoration Contractors Symposium, Modesto, California, March 2012
  • "The Ultimate Seminar for Public Adjusters - CALIFORNIA CLAIMS, Business Interruption, Wildfires, Ethics & the Public Adjuster's Role in Litigation" - April 2012
  • "Appraisals, Ethics & Bad Faith" - TAPIA Spring Conference, April 2012
  • "Business Interruption" - FAPIA Spring Conference, May 2012
  • "What Should Be in a Claim File" - FAPIA Spring Conference, May 2012
  • "Trends Involving All Risk Coverage and Claims for the Policyholders Perspective" - Willis RE - Managing Extremes, 2012
  • "First Party Property Insurance Cases of Interest to Public Adjusters" - NAPIA Fall Meeting, 2012
  • "Uncovering Soot and Ash, a Wildfire Claims Seminar" - CE Seminar for California Public Adjusters, 2012
  • "Gulf Coast/Southeast Insurance Case Law Update" - Windstorm Insurance Network Annual Conference, January 2013
  • "The First Party Bad Faith Claim" - (Co-Author with Mary E. Kestenbaum), Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (AFTL) Winter Seminar, 2005
  • "Condominium Leadership Before and After a Hurricane Catastrophe" - Windstorm Insurance Network Annual Conference, 2006
  • "How to Apply Coinsurance and Deductible Clauses in Property Insurance Policies" - Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA), 2006
  • "What Else Do We Cover? Extra Coverages" - The American Bar Association Presents: Emerging Issues in Homeowners' Insurance Seminar, 2006
  • "Dealing With Disaster: How to Survive Being Flooded Out, Burned Up, Or Blown Away!" - Condominium Associations Institute National Conference & Exposition, 2006
  • "Peace of Mind: Getting Adequate Insurance Protection" - APCM's Regional Conference Florida Region, November 2006
  • "Practical and Legal Lessons from the 2004 and 2005 - Hurricanes for Every Policyholder Representative" National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters, Mid-Year Meeting, 2006
  • "Unfair Claims Practices" - Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Winter CLE Seminar, 2006
  • "Coming Up With Evidence Out of the Blue Creative Bad Faith Discovery" - American Association for Justice Mid-Year Convention, February 2007
  • "Plugging the Gaps: Dealing with Inconsistent Terms in Your Layered Insurance" - Risk Insurance Management Society Conference, 2007
  • "Ten Things a Florida Public Adjuster Can do to Raise Professionalism and Become More Successful" - FAPIA Summer Conference, August 2007
  • "Lessons Learned After the Storms" - Journal of the American Association for Justice, August 2007
  • "A Case Providing Far Too Little Because It Was Rendered Far Too Late" - Mississippi Law Journal, April 2010
  • "Experience and Specialization Matters When It Comes to Complex Hospitality Insurance" Insurance Journal, Spring 2010
  • "A Primer on Proving Roof Damage" - NAPIA Summer Meeting, June 2011
  • "Contingent Business Income Insurance for the Hospitality Industry: Hedging the Risk of Financial Loss Caused By Catastrophe at Nearby Attractions Gulf Coast Case Law Update" - Windstorm Insurance Network Annual Conference, January 2011
  • "Preparation for the Hurricane Season Includes Insurance and Risk Reviews" - Hospitality Lawyer, June 2011
  • "What Should be in the Claim File - Public Adjuster Best Claims Practices and the Claims File" (Co-Author with Douglas Grose, Esq.) - FAPIA Spring Conference, May 2012
  • "Specific Case Studies in the Field of Business Interruption" (Co-Author with Michelle Claverol, Esq. & Kelly Kubiak, Esq.) - FAPIA Spring Conference, May 2012
  • "Theory of Indemnity and What Constitutes a Loss" - First Party Claims Conference, 2012
  • "Practical lessons public adjusters can learn from recent litigation against insurers" - FAPIA Fall Conference, 2012
  • "Practical and Legal Lessons from Hurricane Experts" - Seminar for New York and New Jersey Public Adjusters, 2012
  • Executive Editor, University of Florida Law Review
  • In addition to the plethora of political, social and economic issues that are still being sorted out, insurance legal issues are at the center of the questions left in the wake of the unusual, if not unprecedented, series of hurricanes that particularly impacted the Southern Gulf States especially Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Indeed, insurance related legal questions loom at the forefront of the many factors that will determine the extent to which policyholders are ultimately compensated for their huge and devastating losses. This lecture will discuss the effects of the Florida amendment to the Valued Policy Law, concurrent causation issues, and other related coverage issues. In addition to Florida issues, the lecture will also include analogous developments in Mississippi from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Finally, the paper contains practical advice for Plaintiffs’ attorneys litigating insurance claims., Hurricane Coverage and Litigation Issues, Including Florida’s New Valued Policy Law and the Question of Concurrent Causation

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Board Member, Southern Food and Beverage (SOFAB)

Bar/Professional Activity

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Mississippi
  • District of Columbia
  • California
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
  • Florida
  • Member, Citizen's Property Insurance Corporation Mission Review Task Force, 2008 - Present
  • President, Windstorm Insurance Network
  • Associate Member, Risk Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Associate Member, Community Associations Institute (CAI)
  • Associate Member, Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA)
  • Associate Member, National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA)
  • Chairman, Bad Faith Insurance Litigation Group, American Association for Justice, 1996 - 1998
  • President's Member, American Association for Justice
  • Vice-Chair, Subcommittee on Property Insurance Law, American Bar Association, 1988 - 1998
  • Secretary, Fire and Property Insurance Litigation Group, American Association for Justice, 1993 - 1995


  • Omicron Delta Kappa, University of Florida College of Law
  • Florida Blue Key, University of Florida College of Law
  • Moot Court, University of Florida College of Law
  • Outstanding Amicus Brief of the Year, United Policyholders, 2002
  • Eagle Talon Award, The Florida Justice Association (formerly the academy of Florida Trial Lawyers), 1990
  • Lexis Nexis Insurance Law Center Person of the Year 2008 Policyholder Attorney of the Year, Honorable Mention, 2008
  • 2007 NAPIA Co-Person of the Year, 2007 - Present
  • Tampa Bay's Best Lawyers 2010, Tampa Bay Magazine, 2010
  • National Law Journal® - Tampa's Top Attorney, 2011
  • Florida Trend Magazine: Florida's Legal Elite, 2004 - 2012
  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, 2013
  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, 2012
  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, 2011

Special Licenses/Certifications

  • Certification / Specialties Civil Trial, Florida Bar

Educational Background

  • University of Florida, B.S.
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Office Location for William F. "Chip" Merlin, Jr.

777 South Harbour Island Boulevard
Suite 950
Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: 813-229-1000

Fax: 813-229-3692

Last Updated: 12/1/2021

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