In a very aggressive move, Auto-Owners Insurance sued its own policyholder in an attempt to avoid making payment on an appraisal award.

When the claim began, Auto-Owners found wind damage to the policyholders’ commercial buildings in Wisconsin.  Then it hired an “expert” who said that the wind damage was man-made and denied the claim.  When the policyholders invoked appraisal to resolve the disputed loss, Auto-Owners tried to limit the scope of appraisal, but the panel still issued an award in favor of the policyholder.

SJJ was retained to represent the policyholders when Auto-Owners sued them in an effort to avoid paying the appraisal award.  The Court upheld the appraisal panel’s findings but ordered a trial on whether those damages were covered under the policy.  Brad Hammond aggressively defended the policyholders and on March 26, 2020, nearly four years after the date of the loss and nearly two years after completion of the appraisal, the Court reached a verdict that Auto-Owners must pay the award.  A second trial will determine whether Auto-Owners acted in bad faith in its denial of the claim.

This was a great win for the policyholders who will now get their day in court to determine whether refusing to pay an appraisal award constitutes bad faith.  SJJ routinely fights for policyholder’s right across the country.  If you’ve been unfairly treated by your insurance company, call us today!


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