Avoid the Headache – Submit the Sworn Proof of Loss to Property Insurer

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One post-loss obligation is the insurer’s right to request the insured to submit a sworn proof of loss.

October 12, 2020
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

Property insurance policies (first party insurance policies) contain post-loss obligations that an insured must (and should) comply with otherwise they risk forfeiting insurance coverage. One post-loss obligation is the insurer’s right to request the insured to submit a sworn proof of loss. Not complying with a post-loss obligation such as submitting a sworn proof of loss can lead to unnecessary headaches for the insured. Most of the times the headache can be avoided. Even with a sworn proof of loss, there is a way to disclaim the finality of damages and amounts included by couching information as estimates or by affirming that the final and complete loss is still unknown while you work with an adjuster to quantify the loss. The point is, ignoring the obligation altogether will result in a headache that you will have to deal with down the road because the property insurer will use it against you and is a headache that is easily avoidable. And, it will result in an added burden to you, as the insured, to demonstrate the failure to comply did not actually cause any prejudice to the insurer.

By way of example, in Prem v. Universal Property & Casualty Ins. Co., 45 Fla. L. Weekly D2044a (Fla. 3d DCA 2020), the insured notified their property insurer of a plumbing leak in the bathroom. The insurer requested for the insured to submit a sworn proof of loss per the terms of the insured’s property insurance policy. The insurer follow-up with its request for a sworn proof of loss on a few occasions. None was provided and the insured filed a lawsuit without ever furnishing a sworn proof of loss. The insurer moved for summary judgment due the insured’s failure to comply with the post-loss obligations, specifically by not submitting a sworn proof of loss, and the trial court granted the insurer’s motion. Even at the time of the summary judgment hearing, the insured still did not submit a sworn proof of loss.

Mr. Adelstein may be contacted at dma@kirwinnorris.com



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