Examinations Under Oath are an important part of an insurance company’s investigation of an insurance claim. We have previously discussed the importance of EUO’s and how they impact your insurance claim. But who determines if the examination under oath (EUO) was meaningful?
We have previously discussed the importance of not only fully cooperating with an insurance company’s investigation of the claim, but to ensure that you attend an EUO when requested to do so. Indeed, failure to sit for an EUO may result in the denial of the insurance claim. On the other hand, however, EUO’s do have their limits. They are not open ended expeditions for an insurance company to inquire on topics that go beyond the insurance claim at issue.
But what happens when an insured sits for an EUO and the information provided is less than “perfect.” Is an “inadequate” EUO grounds for an insurance company to deny the claim?
That was the issue the issue the Fourth District Court of Appeal was confronted with him in Solano v. State Farm, 2014 WL 1908827 (4th DCA 2014). In Solano, State Farm was initially presented with a Hurricane Wilma claim. State Farm initially agreed to pay Solano for the damage. After the initial payment was made by State Farm, Solano requested that the claim be re-opened in order to seek greater compensation.
Once the claim was re-opened, State Farm requested that Solano appear for an EUO. Solano appeared for the EUO, and answered questions. However, his wife failed to appear for an EUO. State Farm requested that Solano’s public adjuster also appear for an EUO, but the public adjuster took the position that State Farm could not compel him to appear for an EUO.
Solano eventually filed a lawsuit against State Farm. At the trial level, the trial judge granted summary judgment in State Farm’s favor on grounds that the Solano’s wife and public adjuster’s failure to appear for the EUO barred the claim. On appeal, however, the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed.
The appellate court noted that there was not a total failure to comply with the EUO request made by State Farm. Indeed, Solano had appeared and answered questions during his EUO. The appellate court also noted that State Farm could not demonstrate that it could compel the public adjuster to appear for an EUO. Moreover, the appellate court also noted that while the public adjuster could not be compelled to the EUO, the public adjuster had nonetheless provided documentation to State Farm and even met with State Farm, at the property, to discuss the claim. The appellate court noted that State Farm should have had enough information to either settle this claim with Solano or go to appraisal.