The Examination Under Oath is a Condition Precedent to Recovery of Benefits from a Policy
Every fire insurance policy issued in the U.S., like the New York Standard Fire Insurance Policy quoted in Chapter 1, provides that, in the event of a loss, the insurance company can require the insured to produce documents and testify at an “EUO.” By statute in those states like New York that have a standard fire insurance policy, also require that all risk or direct risk of physical loss policies that do not exclude fire, must provide the coverages or better than the coverages stated in the standard fire policy.
In Ransom v. Selective Ins. Co., 229 N.J. Super. 43, 46, 550 A.2d 1006 (Law Div.1988) the court reviewed the examination under oath provision in a policy and concluded that the insured was required to submit to the EUO and produce requested documents in accordance with the written demand of counsel “because the circumstances surrounding the loss arouse[d] a justified suspicion of arson and because the requests are specific, relevant, material and reasonable.” (Emphasis added).
The purpose of examinations under oath that was first described in Claflin v. Commonwealth Insurance Co., 110 U.S. 81, 94-95 (1884) made clear that every question that was relevant and pertinent in such an examination was material to the investigation of the insurer must be answered. It also clarified that a question is material when, “a true answer to it was of the substance of the obligation of the assured.”
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and email@example.com.
Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.
Over the last 52 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.
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