In two cases decided June 28, 2019, the Texas Supreme Court held that an insurer’s invocation of a contractual appraisal provision after denying a claim does not as a matter of law insulate it from liability under the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act (“TPPCA”). But, on the other hand, the court also held that the insurer’s payment of the appraisal award does not as a matter of law establish its liability under the policy for purposes of TPPCA damages.
In Barbara Techs. Corp. v. State Farm Lloyds, No. 17-0640, 2019 WL 2666484, at *1 (Tex. June 28, 2019), State Farm Lloyds issued property insurance to Barbara Technologies Corporation for a commercial property. A wind and hail storm damaged the property, and Barbara Tech filed a claim under the policy. State Farm denied the claim, asserting that damages were less than the $5,000 deductible.
Barbara Tech filed suit against State Farm, including for violation of the TPPCA. Six months later, State Farm invoked the appraisal provision of the policy. More than a year after the suit was filed, appraisers agreed to a value of $195,345.63. State Farm then paid that amount, minus depreciation and the deductible. Barbara Tech amended its petition to include only TPPCA claims.
Reprinted courtesy of John C. Eichman, Hunton Andrews Kurth and Grayson L. Linyard, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. Eichman may be contacted at jeichman@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Linyard may be contacted at glinyard@HuntonAK.com