Property insurance policies contain an examination under oath (“EUO”) provision that requires the insured and the insured’s agents and representatives to submit to an EUO. An EUO is a sworn statement – – a pre-lawsuit deposition, so to speak. It is a post-loss condition in the property insurance policy that, absent certain circumstances, the insured must comply with.
In a recent decision, Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. Castillo, 45 Fla. L. Weekly D966a (Fla. 4th DCA 2020), the issue was whether the insured was required to produce his handyman and restoration company for an EUO. The EUO provision in the policy stated:
In the County where the “residence premises” is located you, your agents, your representatives, including any public adjuster engaged on your behalf, and any and all “insureds” must submit to [EUOs] and sign same when requested by us.
The handyman and restoration company were involved in furnishing estimates or mitigation work and the insurer claimed they should be deemed an agent or representative of the insured. The appellate court, affirming the trial court, disagreed:
[T]he handyman and the water restoration employees were not the insureds’ “agents” or “representatives” under the dictionary definitions of those terms. Further, to the extent the policy here is considered uncertain, we are compelled to construe the interpretation against the insurer. The insurer, as the policy’s drafter, easily could have added language including “any persons who inspected or repaired the covered property.” For us to do so now would re-write the policy.
Avatar Property & Casualty Insurance Co., supra.
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