RSJ attorneys Alexander Jadin and Tim Johnson helped another homeowner recover against an insurance company who refused to pay under the terms of its policy. In the case of Kaltenhauser v. American Family.pdf, the insurance company first refused to pay for a covered loss. Then, it forced its policyholders to go to an insurance appraisal to value the loss. After the appraisal panel confirmed that the insurance company undervalued the claim by over six figures, the insurance company still refused to pay the claim. RSJ brought legal action against the insurance company in Court where the judge ordered the insurance company to (1) pay the entire appraisal award; (2) pay interest on top of the award; and (3) issued an order that the insurance company's matching limitation is not applicable.
One of the issues in this case was whether an exclusion for material matching required the homeowner to apply mismatched shingles on their roof. The insurance company argued that its Matching of Undamaged Property limitation relieved its obligation to pay for the matching shingles. The Court was not persuaded, and agreed with RSJ that the exclusion only applied to undamaged property, and under Cedar Bluff.pdf, all of the mismatching shingles were damaged property. This is a strong holding against insurance companies that have attempted to draft limitations and exclusions around the Minnesota Supreme Court's matching decision in Cedar Bluff.pdf.
An issue of constant debate in recent Minnesota case law is whether insureds can recover interest on appraisal awards. In fact, RSJ will soon be arguing this point in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court. As for this case, like so many others across Minnesota, the Court agreed with RSJ and awarded interest on the entire appraisal award.
Ultimately, this was a victory for the homeowners, but no property owner should have to spend years in litigation and their own money to recover what is due under their insurance policy. If your insurance company has wrongfully denied a property insurance claim, RSJ can help. If this happened to you, call us today!