On Wednesday, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal issued an opinion affirming a trial court’s order compelling appraisal of a homeowners’ supplemental Hurricane Katrina claim.1 The insureds, the Cardelles, had filed claims with State Farm after Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. After each hurricane the insureds reported property damage to State Farm. They obtained estimates from a contractor and their public adjuster and submitted sworn proofs of loss for each claim.
When a loss occurs, policyholders must always be mindful of their property insurance policy’s section titled “Duties after Loss.” A policyholder is required to perform specific duties after a loss and failure to meet the obligations may jeopardize a claim.
In a case recently decided in Texas, the insurance carrier prevailed against the policyholder when the appellate court found that the policyholder failed to adhere to its post-loss duties under a homeowner’s insurance policy.1 This blog entry examines the facts and holdings in the hope policyholders and professionals assisting them can avoid facing a similar situation.
In my last few posts, wrote about policyholders’ obligations and duties in notifying insurance carriers of a loss and the proof of loss obligations. I focused on New York in particular. What about the duties of insurance carriers once they are notified of a loss by a policyholder? I have heard people say insurance carriers have no duties after a loss. This cannot be farther from the truth. Let’s find out why…
Most policies contain language along these lines:
In case of a loss to covered property, you must see that the following are done: …
f. As often as we reasonably require: …
(3) Submit to examination under oath, while not in the presence of any other ‘insured,’ and sign the same.
A few of my previous posts in this blog series have squarely addressed or touched upon Examinations Under Oath (EUO). This post gets a bit more particular, focusing on the “while not in the presence” and “sign the same” language.
My previous seventeen posts in this blog series have discussed what you are required (or not required) to do under various post-loss / pre-suit insurance policy conditions. This post discusses the extent of “you.” Is “you” just you, or does “you” include your spouse, your family members, your public adjuster, and others? Who is “you” largely depends on the language of the insurance contract.
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:
Most insurance policies contain a “suit against us” condition that usually reads along these lines: “No action can be brought against us unless the policy provisions have been complied with and the action is started within five (5) years from the date the loss occurs.” So, do pending requests (e.g., loss inspection or document production) bar you from the courtroom? And what is the “date of loss” for statute of limitations purposes?
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.
On October 26, 2012, I touched upon Examinations Under Oath (“EUO”). On June 19, 2009, Chip Merlin also touched upon EUOs. This post expounds upon both posts by responding to pointed questions we recently received in response to Chip’s June 19, 2009, post: (1) Why are some people chosen for EUOs? (2) Should I have an attorney present at the EUO? (3) What type of information is requested? (4) How long after the EUO until I get my check?