Smith Jadin Johnson attorneys Tim Johnson and Marcus Zelzer recently won a motion to compel appraisal in Iowa ordering an insurance company to proceed with the appraisal process after having wrongly denied it.
In this case, the parties were disputing the amount of loss from a hailstorm. The policyholder demanded appraisal, but the insurance company refused to participate. The insurance company argued (based on its own opinion) that a hailstorm did not damage the property so it did not have to go to appraisal. SJJ relied on Walnut Creek Townhome Association v. Depositors Insurance Company — a prior case that SJJ won at the Iowa Supreme Court — to argue that the dispute over the amount of loss belongs in appraisal, regardless of the insurer’s opinion about the amount of damage. Ultimately, the District Court agreed with SJJ that it will be the decision of the appraisal panel whether the claimed damages were caused by hail and the amount of the damage.
This is a big win for policyholders in the state of Iowa. The District Court recognized the binding precedent set forth in Walnut Creek establishing that appraisal is the appropriate place to determine the amount of loss, including what caused the loss, and even if the insurance company disagrees.
If you are struggling to get your insurance company to go to appraisal, or have questions on your insurance claim, contact Smith Jadin Johnson today.