Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of the Indiana Travelers Indemnity Company granted a summary judgment ruling that allowed them to avoid hail damage claims by Mapleton policyholder at Countryside Condominium Association Inc. ("Mapleton"). 1 Mapleton sued travelers for breach of contract and bad faith following two hailstorms that affected their buildings in June 2016 and April 2017. The hailstorms caused damage to condominium sidings estimated at $ 2.58 million.
Indiana federal judges found Mapleton made his claims with travelers "unreasonably late" – making the first claim about six months after the first hailstorm and about eleven months after the second hailstorm. Travelers denied both allegations, stating that Mapleton was not affected by the hailstorms.
The traveler's policy stated that they would cover direct physical loss of or damage to Mapleton's property under certain conditions. The policy required that Mapleton provide "prompt notification of the loss or damage" as soon as possible and "[a] provide … a description of how, when and where the loss or damage occurred."
The court found that "no reasonable jury leader could establish that Mapleton in good time or reasonably announced" his alleged damage in this case. In addition, the trial "
Mapleton claimed that their claims were not unreasonably late and travelers were not prejudiced by the late announcement. Mapleton indicated that they were trying to file an application earlier in the fall of 201
The lawsuit supported their position with the Indiana case law, which holds the requirement of prompt notification, giving insurers the opportunity to investigate circumstances surrounding alleged losses in a "rapid and adequate manner." 2 Judge Pratt stated:
Indiana Courts considers the notice to be a crucial part of an insurance claim, and has consequently created a rebuttable legal presumption that an insurer is harmed by non-compliance with a termination claim.
As for the delay in filing their second claim, Mapleton claimed that they were not deterred from reporting their first claim and awaited the investigation of its second allegations. The court ruled that "a delay of eleven months is unreasonable." Similarly, the court found that the six-month and eleven-month application for notification was inappropriate in accordance with Indiana case law and did not meet the policy's termination requirements.
1 Mapleton at Countryside Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Travelers Indemnity Co. No. 1:18-cv-3574, 2020 WL 4448458 (SD Ind. 3 August 2020).
2 Sheehan Const. Co., Inc. v. Cont & # 39; l Cas. Co. 938 N.E.2d 685, 689 (Ind. 2010).