A common claims scenario taking place all over the country is when a policyholder demands appraisal, and the insurance company refuses to partake in the process. The insurers cite all kinds of excuses, which typically include the need for more information, newly thought of steps for investigation, potential coverage issues that cannot be resolved, and on and on and on. “Hell no, we won’t go” is an old anti-war slogan the insurance industry has adopted as its own.

The Florida Supreme Court has now allowed trial judges to determine the order of appraisal and litigation with this recent ruling:1

[W]e conclude that trial courts have discretion in determining the order in which coverage and amount-of-loss issues are resolved. American Coastal, though presenting a myriad of arguments, has not challenged the trial court’s exercise of that discretion based on the facts and circumstances unique to this case. Accordingly, we do not take it upon ourselves to consider whether the trial court’s decision to defer resolution of coverage issues until after appraisal was an abuse of discretion.

This ruling makes practical sense. Indeed, while the appraisal process is moving along, the parties can continue to take discovery on the coverage issues. This speeds up the entire process regarding the amount of loss and coverage resolution. As they say, “justice delayed is justice denied.”

Thought For The Day

Justice that is slow is not justice.

—William Penn

1 American Coastal Ins. Co. v. San Marco Villas Condo. Assoc., No. SC2021-0883 (Fla. Feb. 1, 2024).