First Party Claim - Post Loss Duties

The Peterson Bernard Team obtained a final summary judgment for an insurance carrier client on a first-party claim arising out of Hurricane Wilma. The matter was vigorously contested. The Plaintiffs contended that a phone call shortly after Hurricane Wilma to their agent briefly describing some damage constituted notice. The Plaintiffs’ claim was that this early phone call obviated any need to comply with other post loss conditions and the “suit against us” clause. The Court’s ruling recognized that the Plaintiffs’ failure to comply with the post loss duties prejudiced the insurance carrier’s ability to adjust the claim and determine which portions of the policy provisions would be applicable. During the course of investigation and discovery The Peterson Bernard Team was able to develop evidence that there had been a house fire between the time of the original phone call and the filing of a formal claim, some four years after the date of loss.