Who has the burden of proof in a typical all-risk insurance policy which is now often referred to as an “open perils” policy? What does a policyholder typically have to prove to make a claim for property damage? These are fairly basic questions with answers that can become confusing when the burdens switch.
Continue Reading Who Has the Burden to Prove the Cause of Property Damage? Those Burdens of Proof Can Switch!

Hurricane Sally appears headed to the Mississippi Sound and Louisiana. Adjusters already working Hurricane Laura claims will be shifting efforts to Hurricane Sally. While there is legal authority suggesting that causation can be determined in Louisiana appraisals,1 Mississippi has long held that causation issues will not be allowed in appraisal and that a lawsuit will have to determine those issues.2
Continue Reading Mississippi Does Not Allow Causation to Be Determined In Appraisal

Ashley Harris

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.
Continue Reading Ashley Harris Cited by Iowa Supreme Court Regarding Causation Issues in Appraisal Proceedings

Plaintiffs owned a home in Arizona insured by Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Company.1 The “Wallow Fire” occurred near the property and consumed the plaintiffs’ detached garage. It also burned the vegetation on a nearby hill. A month after the fire was contained, a mudslide on the hill destroyed the house.

Continue Reading Court Applies Broad Interpretation of “Direct” Causation

While the appraisal procedure is commonly used in property insurance claims, the proper scope of appraisal is often contested. Courts across the country generally agree that coverage determinations are reserved only to the courts. However, courts are divided on whether determinations of causation should be considered by the appraisal process.
Continue Reading The Scope of Appraisal: Does It Include Causation?