This actually makes too much sense to hold up but who knows. Thanks to our friends on the Cameron Parish School Board ordinary people won a very important battle against big insurance. Our readers no doubt recall how the 5th Circuit slaughtered the concept of anti concurrent causation in Leonard v Nationwide while ruling the policy clause was not ambigious.
In a case with fact patterns evidently very similar to the Mississippi case Broussard v State Farm the Federal District court has ruled out self serving after the fact experts for insurers:
This inquiry is factual. RSUI relies upon Nelson’s adjustment to justify its failure to pay. Nelson did not begin adjusting until August 2007. CPSB filed suit in September 2006, and thus RSUI cannot now rely on Nelson’s reports to justity its failure to pay prior to August 2007 because whether an action is arbitrary, capricious, or without probable cause depends on the facts known to the insurer at the time of its action.
Bottom line is insurers have a duty to adjust their claims. Using logic only a lawyer would appreciate RSUI actually argued it was relying on the Leonard decision to justify it’s actions. The problem of course is the outcome of Leonard was also unknown at that time.
Two bottom lines IMHO. Until the problems in Leonard are fixed consumers at risk for Hurricane damage are free to be raped by big insurance in the Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas with litigation as the only their recourse. The second bottom line stems from the decision itself and I quote from a reader email, “The insurer can only rely on information it had/knew at the time of its actions, and not lawyer-created, after the fact, excuses.”