The Iowa Supreme Court determined that “appraisers may determine the factual cause of damage to insured property to ascertain the amount of loss,” in Walnut Creek Townhome Association vs Depositors Insurance Company.1 I am proud that Ashley Smith (nka Ashley Harris) was cited by the court for her analysis of the issue.
Ashley wrote a law review article, Property Insurance Appraisal: Is Determining Causation Essential to Evaluating the Amount of Loss,2 which the court cited as authoritative. Here is part of what she had to say on the subject about six years ago:
The appraisal procedure has been utilized in property insurance cases for decades. The issue of whether or not to allow the determination of causation in the appraisal process is a relatively recent dispute in the property insurance context. Allowing the determination of causation in the appraisal process has significant effects on the resolution of property insurance disputes and can conserve both judicial resources and costs to the insured and insurance company.
Only twenty-eight states currently have case law addressing the issue of determining causation in a property appraisal. Of the states that have considered the matter, the states are slightly in favor of the determination of causation. Analyzing the justifications for and against allowing the appraisal panel to determine causation will assist other courts in addressing this issue.
Most attorneys will never be cited by jurists in support of new law. Merlin Law Group is fortunate to have very dedicated and bright insurance lawyers like Ashley Harris, who judges cite as authority in explaining insurance law. Ashley makes me look good!
Thought For The Day
I am proud to have been born in Iowa. Through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy, it was a place of adventure and daily discoveries – the wonder of the growing crops, the excitements of the harvest, the journeys to the woods for nuts and hunting, the joys of snowy winters, the comfort of the family fireside, of good food and tender care.
This week, I started out in San Juan and just got back from Chicago with a quick stop in Naples, Florida. Since it is Saturday, Summer is almost here and I am looking forward to going back to Chicago:
1 Walnut Creek Townhome Association vs Depositors Insurance Company, No. 16-0121 (Iowa June 1, 2018).
2 Ashley Smith, Property Insurance Appraisal: Is Determining Causation Essential to Evaluating the Amount of Loss, 2012 J. Disp. Resol. 591.