Recent Question: My insurance company hired an engineering firm, who found sinkhole activity at my home. Immediately after we received the report, we were instructed to appear at a law firm to bring documents including tax returns, the closing documents at the time of sale, and a bunch of other things. Can they do this?
Companies Take Premiums Now, Ask Questions Later
Recently, we have seen unprecedented effort by insurance companies to do what is commonly referred to as “Post-Loss Underwriting.” When the real estate market was hopping, insurance companies were signing up new insureds without conducted any kind of site inspection or do the kinds of things good insurance companies should do. Now, when the claims are coming in and money will be owed, they are combing over the application documents for anything to hang their hat on. For example, they want to see the inspection report at the time of purchase, with the hope they can find something you failed to disclose to them when you completed the application. Regardless of who your insurer is, understand this entire process is designed to find a basis upon which your claim can be denied. Nothing, repeat, nothing will come from this to benefit you. Your statements are made in front of a court reporter, with the questions being asked by a lawyer ““ these should be your first clues. Recently, I had an insurance company pull out a Florida sinkhole map, and ask my client from Ocala questions about it.
My suggestion to you is that you provide complete answers to their questions and provide the documents they request, under the supervision of your own lawyer. If personal financial records are requested, you should consult with your counsel about reasonable boundaries. While you want to be cautious not to provide them certain confidential information, you also do not want to give them a defense to your claim that you failed to cooperate.
We provide a list of very specific suggestions on how to deal with examinations under oath or other inquiries by insurance companies. If you get such a request, please call us and our sinkhole lawyers can help you.