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 recent case before Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal, an insurer argued that a policyholder was precluded from recovery of damages because they withheld an expert report until after they commenced a lawsuit and this was a breach of the requirement in the policy’s Duties after Loss section. In Herrera v. Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Company,1 the insureds submitted a claim to their insurer, Tower Hill for damages resulting from a sinkhole at their home. Tower Hill retained an expert who concluded that a sinkhole was not the cause of damage to the home. Tower Hill told the insureds that they could participate in neutral evaluation. They also advised the insured that if they demanded additional testing, Tower Hill would continue its investigation subject to a reservation of rights pending a determination of sinkhole activity.
The insured did not notify Tower Hill of any objection to the insurer’s expert report, and did not demand neutral evaluation or additional testing. In the mean