Appraisals Matter

The insured estimated loss from a hailstorm at a shopping center at close to $1 million; the insurer estimated $17,000.  TMM Investments v. Ohio Casualty Insurance, No. 12-40635 (Sept. 17, 2013).  The insurer invoked its contractual right for an appraisal, which came in around $50,000.  The insured sued, alleging that the appraisal improperly excluded damages to the HVAC system and that the panel exceeded its authority by considering causation issues.  Applying State Farm Lloyds v. Johnson, 290 S.W.3d 886 (Tex. 2009), the Fifth Circuit agreed on the HVAC issue, but did not see that as a reason to invalidate the entire award, and reasoned that the appraisers were within their authority when they “merely distinguished damage caused by pre-existing conditions from damage caused by the storm . . . .”

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