Good faith use of the appraisal process to resolve legitimate valuation disputes under a property policy is no longer an absolute defense under Texas law to claims for statutory delay damages. In a pair of decisions regarding appraisal, the Texas Supreme Court held that when appraisal is invoked after the commencement of litigation, the prompt payment of the award by an insurer precludes statutory bad faith claims under Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code, but potentially allows for statutory delay damages of interest and …Continue Reading
In a long-awaited decision, Colorado’s highest court ruled a designated appraiser in a property insurance dispute must remain impartial and free from favoring one party over the other. Specifically, the Supreme Court held that the policy language required appraisers to be “unbiased, disinterested, and unswayed by personal interest.” This decision is a win for the insurance industry, although the Supreme Court created a framework that is certain to lead to disputes about an appraiser’s partiality in the future.
The decision in Owners Insurance Co. v. …Continue Reading
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois recently held that outstanding coverage issues and an ambiguous notation in an appraisal award precluded a finding that an insurer satisfied its coverage obligations. Windsor Oaks, LLC v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., No. 17-CV-689-SMY-SCW, 2018 WL 4303141 (S.D. Ill. Sept. 10, 2018).
The insured, a hotel owner, submitted to its insurer a property claim for earthquake damage. The insurer retained an engineering expert, who determined the hotel did not sustain earthquake damage. Accordingly, the insurer …Continue Reading
In a recent first-party coverage claim, an insurer invoked its homeowner’s policy’s appraisal provision pre-suit when the parties could not agree on the scope of loss. The appraisal provision required both parties to select an appraiser, who were in turn required to agree mutually upon a neutral umpire for appraisal. The policy’s appraisal provision stated further that in the event the appraisers could not agree upon a neutral umpire, either party could initiate a legal action to request that the court appoint an umpire. When …Continue Reading