Insurance policies containing conditions pertaining to an insured’s obligation to submit a notice and proof of loss are “meant to give the insurer the necessary facts to facilitate an investigation of a claim and to protect it against fraudulent and excessive claims.”1
In California, these conditions—including other conditions such as producing books and records—are subject to a “substantial compliance” standard.2
The issue is not whether the insurer has received every item of information that it has requested or has in its hands the exact type of information that it prefers when deciding a claim, rather the question is whether there was enough evidence of whatever form and however acquired that the insurer would act unreasonably if it refused to pay the claim.3
Moreover, even if all of the information submitted by an insured is somehow deemed technically incomplete, an insurer waives any alleged defects in the documentation submitted if it fails to: (1) specifically advise the insured of the defects, or (2) give the insured an opportunity to correct the alleged defects.4
1 Chierfue Her v. State Farm Ins. Co., 92 F. Supp. 3d 957, 971 (E.D. Cal. 2015).
2 McCormick v. Sentinel Life Ins. Co., 153 Cal.App.3d 1030, 1046 (1984).
3 Chierfue Her, at 972.
4 Elliano v. Assurance Co. of Am., 3 Cal. App. 3d 446, 448, n.2 (1970); see also Cal. Ins. Code § 553 (“All defects in a notice of loss, or in preliminary proof thereof, which the insured might remedy, and which the insurer omits to specify to him, without unnecessary delay, as grounds of objection, are waived.”).