Florida court allows compelled appraisal by an insurance carrier. Florida 5th District Court of Appeal has ruled that an insurance carrier can compel appraisal in a case of damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The carrier had presented a defense that the house in question has pre-existing damage. It also informed the court that the amount tendered by the insured didn’t yet exceed the deductible.
The case had been filed by Mr. and Mrs. Sorgenfrei who had their home damaged by Hurricane Irma. In response to the claim, the carrier agreed to pay only a portion of the damage. The main contention of the carrier rested on the presence of pre-existing damage. The carrier had filed a motion to compel appraisal in the case, a motion which had previously been denied in a trial court.
The appellate court has now overturned the previous ruling of the trial court. In its decision, the court noted that the carrier was not wholly denying the claim. This was because the carrier was able to cover a portion of the damage as per the policy, the court stated. The court also sided with the carrier on the point of pre-existing damage and stated that a portion of the claim could not be met because of such damage to the house prior to the hurricane.
The damage in question pertained to a house with roof leaks and water damage to the house’s interior. The carrier had claimed that the insurance policy didn’t cover roof damage. However, it agreed to cover the interior damage from water, claiming that this was covered under the policy. As per the court’s verdict, when the amount of loss is a key concern of the case, the case should rightly be handled by an appraisal panel. However, it remains unclear whether or not the agreement of the insured is required for such appraisal.
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