After filing a claim, insurance companies will at times request a substantial amount of information, leaving many Coloradans feeling overwhelmed. However, a failure to respond to the requests (aka “failure to cooperate”), could cost an insured their owed insurance claim benefits. Recently the United States District Court, District of Colorado, discussed this issue in its review of a Motion for Summary Judgment in Cribari v. Allstate Fire & Casualty Insurance Company.1
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Most policyholders usually do not know what to expect when they submit a claim to their insurance company. Some simply expect to fill out a claim form, maybe answer a few questions, and then receive a claim check from the insurer compensating them for the loss. Most policyholders are usually taken back when the insurance company asks for copies of their income tax returns, bank statements, bills, and other financial records.
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Recently, it seems like I have been privy to a relatively high number of insureds asked by their carrier, following a loss, to submit to an examination under oath (commonly referred to as an EUO). The most common question I received was, “Can I just choose not to answer or attend?” Although the choice is ultimately the insureds and the ramifications of refusal vary by justification, when dealing with Arizona insureds, I generally advise against such blanket refusals.
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When arguing with an adjuster over the value of your personal property claim, receipts can be an invaluable tool. But who keeps receipts? When dealing with theft or loss of property, you may actually have receipts; however in a total loss situation such as a fire, often the receipts are destroyed along with the property. Without fail, your adjuster will ask for receipts to determine the actual existence of lost property and the value. Under the basic homeowner’s policy, the insured has certain duties that must be complied with after a loss. Included in this is that the insured:

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Insurance policies have certain provisions that must be complied with in a property insurance claim. These are called duties after loss, and if reasonably requested by the insurer, they must be complied with. Recently, an insurer in New York became involved in litigation over whether the policyholder had shown it the damaged property following a claim.1 The insurer claimed the policyholder failed to show it the damaged property, which affected the insurer’s ability to determine whether there was a loss and the extent of any damages. There are often a couple policy provisions at play in this scenario. There is a duty to mitigate damages and perform necessary repairs as quickly as possible. On the other hand, there is a duty to show the insurer the damaged property.


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"Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true"
            –The Beach Boys

A recent Florida case that involves examinations under oath demonstrates that insurers should  cooperate with policyholders and not try to use technicalities to prevent payment. In First Home Ins. Co. v. Fleurimond, 3D09-2034, 2010 WL 2178839 (Fla. 3rd DCA June 2, 2010), policyholders were allegedly yelled at and badgered during an examination under oath. They left, obtained counsel, and the insurer then refused to reconvene the examination under oath. The policyholders filed suit, demanded an appraisal, and the insurer refused. The trial court ruled that the matter should proceed to appraisal, and the insurer appealed.


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When dealing with insurance claims, it is important for there to be ongoing communication and cooperation between the policyholder and the insurer. This relationship is generally to share and obtain information necessary for the insurer to make a fair and prompt determination….
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