Insurance companies owe their insured an obligation to fully and fairly investigate a property loss, which includes a comprehensive inspection to identify any damages associated with the damage. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters sometimes use a reason for "any port in the storm" to deny a claim. the adjuster cannot point to a specific concrete basis for denial, instead relying on a hypothetical justification. In that situation, the adjuster's denial is a paradox for the insurer's obligation to investigate a claim. the storm denial. The insured claimed that their concrete roof was damaged and leaked as a result of the infamous May 8, 2017, Colorado hailstorm. A Liberty adjuster inspected the property, but without investigating the source of the leak, they documented that they found "" no storm-related damage to concrete slabs on the roof of the house "and that internal damage … was due to wind-driven rain possibly around the valley with a low roof and around a plumbing stack. & # 39; ” 2 Liberty effectively blamed a speculative other guilty of the loss without definitively explaining why the hailstorm had no role in the damages.
Thereafter. The correctors examined his roof and informed Liberty that they had personally identified hail damage to his roof and provided pictures of the further alleged damage. Liberty inspected the insured's roof again and found broken roof tiles, but again did not examine the leaking source. The insured filed a lawsuit claiming that Liberty adjusted its claims in the bad faith, because they believed that Liberty did not complete a full and fair investigation. In return, Liberty filed a summary judgment claiming that it had provided adequate coverage and that it had not adjusted the claim in bad faith.
The Federal District of Colorado denied Liberty's proposal:
[T] he agrees with Corrigans that … a play jury [could] concludes that Liberty acted unreasonably when it received a claim that a previously healthy roof was leaking after a major hailstorm and it never investigated the cause of the leak, but instead developed a theory that assumed an already
Liberty justified that it had offered to hire a civil engineer to investigate the roof, but the court also denied this argument:
But that offer came in November 2017, about six months after Corrigans filed a claim. If a reasonable jury were to conclude that Liberty's initial reliance on theory rather than investigation was unreasonable, Liberty's face six months later is irrelevant to liability.
Corrigan's statement stands as a good reminder to insured persons that they have the right to hold their insurance company liable to carry out a comprehensive inspection of their loss. Ultimately, adjusters must base a denial of claim on a concrete, non-theoretical, reason. As the Corrigan Court pointed out,
[A] against the disbelief of the common law, that failure to properly investigate [an insurance claim for property damage] is a viable cause – the taking of evidence for the other parts of the claim and of relevant damages – even if it turns out that the policy does not cover the loss.
1 Corrigan v. Liberty Ins. Corp 2020 WL 1939743 (Dist. Colo. 2020).
2 Id .