I represent several churches and I recently read an interesting Texas case regarding the payment of an appraisal award. The case is Church on the Rock North d/b/a The North Church v. Church Mutual Insurance Company.1
Church on the Rock North sued its insurance company over the handling of a claim arising from a storm. The parties disagreed on the cost of repairs so the insurance company invoked the appraisal process. While the appraisal was ongoing, the church filed suit in state court. The insurance company removed the matter to federal court and the case was stayed pending the outcome of the appraisal. The umpire made an award and the insurance company issued a check for the amount of the loss and a check for depreciation. Then, the insurance company filed a motion for summary judgment on the church’s pending claims stating that since it had paid in full on the contract claim that the remaining claims fail.
The court disagreed finding that the insurance company failed to establish that the appraisal award was binding and enforceable, that the church intended to be bound by the award, that its payments were timely and failed to establish that its calculations were correct. The court further found that the payment of an appraisal award, without more, did not preclude an award for pre-appraisal violations of the Insurance Code.
In most matters, there are more counts to a case than just a breach of contract claim. In Colorado, we also often make claims of unreasonable delay or denial and bad faith. If an appraisal award is paid in such a case, that may not be enough to get a case dismissed.
1 Church on the Rock North v. Church Mut. Ins. Co., No. 3:10-CV-0975, 2013 WL 497879 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 11, 2013).