In the case of Pallarito vs. American Family, Smith Jadin Johnson attorneys Christopher Drake, Jared McLuskey, and Zac Morgan successfully compelled American Family Insurance to participate in appraisal on their client’s terms. The policyholder’s property was damaged because of a 2019 hailstorm. American Family failed to acknowledge the full extent of damage and the policyholder demanded appraisal (a dispute resolution option under the policy designed to keep disputes out of court.) American Family refused to allow the appraisal panel to determine whether damage to the property was caused by the 2019 storm, so SJJ had to take the matter before the court.
American Family’s position was based entirely on its own retained engineer who speculated that damage might be from a different storm. In a nutshell, American Family maintained that the appraisal panel’s only authority was to identify the cost to repair those items American Family agreed were damaged. SJJ argued the panel is entitled to review the entire amount of loss. Judge Jackson agreed with SJJ, finding that the policy’s appraisal provision does not exclusively reserve to the insurer the right to determine what damage was caused by the storm. Judge Jackson applied a commonsense approach to this issue, reasoning that an appraisal panel cannot assess the amount of loss without discerning between what damage was caused by the event.
This is just one of many instances the attorneys of Smith Jadin Johnson have forced an insurer to follow its policy so the policyholder could obtain a fair assessment of the claim. If you find yourself in a dispute with your insurance carrier, reach out to us today.