FLORIDA – Insurance – Appraisals Pursuant to Claims

In State Farm Florida Insurance v. Sheppard the Florida First DCA ruled that when a carrier agrees that part of a loss is covered by the applicable policy, the appraisal provision can be invoked.

Sheppard filed an insurance claim with her carrier, State Farm, for water damage in her home caused by leaking pipes. Sheppard subsequently filed suit and State Farm demanded an appraisal. State Farm moved to abate the litigation and compel appraisal but was denied by the trial Court. State Farm appealed the interlocutory denial.

State Farm argued on appeal that because it acknowledged coverage for a portion of the claim, the appraisal provision of the policy would apply. Sheppard argued that whether coverage exists is a legal question for the court to decide, not an appraisal.

The 1st DCA found that where a carrier acknowledges that some portion of a total loss is covered, an appraisal is appropriate. Causation is a coverage question for the court only when a carrier denies an entire claim. The Court ruled that the trial Court in Sheppard should have granted the motion to compel appraisal.

State Farm Florida Ins. Co. v. Sheppard, 268 So. 3d 1006 (Fla. 1st DCA 2019)

Read the full opinion here…

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