A Florida appellate court recently held that the “Duties After Loss” provision of a policy does not obligate insureds to produce unsolicited documents to an insurer. Herrera v. Tower Hill Preferred Ins. Co., 2014 WL 5461969 (Fla. 2d DCA Oct. 29, 2014).
The insurer issued a homeowners’ policy to insureds who submitted a claim for sinkhole damage. The insurer retained an engineer who concluded that sinkhole activity did not cause damage and denied the claim. Thereafter and unbeknownst to the insurer, the insureds retained an engineer who performed additional testing and concluded that sinkhole activity did cause damage. Without providing the new engineering report to the insurer, the insureds sued the insurer alleging that the insurer breached the insurance policy by denying the claim. The insurer moved for summary judgment claiming that the insureds, by withholding the new engineering report until they filed suit, breached the “Duties After Loss” provision of the policy, which requires the insureds to cooperate during the claim investigation and provide the insurer with records and documents that the insurer requests. Without written explanation, the trial court granted summary judgment for the insurer. The insureds appealed.
The appellate court reversed and remanded. It found that the trial court stretched the “Duties After Loss” provision too far, as the provision only requires insureds to respond to requests and does not obligate insureds to produce unsolicited documents to the insurer.