Superstorm Sandy: Appraisal Issues Begin to Hit the Dockets

N.J. Homeowner Sues to Compel Appraisal in Superstorm Sandy Coverage Dispute

 

McCann v. Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, No. 13-7067 (D. N.J.): This story was recently posted on the HarrisMartin Publishing website, www.harrismartin.com, and seems to be the beginning of what may be a storm of Appraisal related litigation hitting the local Courts’ Dockets. What is noteworthy in this case is that the policyholder is actually an Attorney, so this may explain why this is one of the “first” examples of an Appraisal stemming from Superstorm Sandy seeking the Courts to compel Appraisal. As recently as November 20th, the complaint was removed to U.S District Court and is seeking the Court to Compel Hartford Insurance Company to proceed with the policyholder’s invoke of the Policy’s Appraisal Clause. Due to the extreme difficulties policyholder advocates have been facing in attempting to invoke Appraisal on any Sandy related claims, we will be following this case to see what develops.

 

CAMDEN, N.J. — A New Jersey attorney whose home sustained flood damage during Superstorm Sandy has sued Hartford Insurance Co. of the Midwest for its refusal to appoint an appraiser to resolve a dispute over coverage for the loss.

Shanna McCann sued Hartford in Cumberland County Superior Court, alleging that the insurer paid approximately $30,000 less than the amount she says is necessary to repair the damage to her Somers Point, N.J., property.

McCann also alleges that the insurer has refused to pay for nearly $10,000 worth of contents that were damaged by Sandy floodwaters, and has so far failed to respond to her request for coverage of $17,800 in emergency remediation work performed by Advanced Restoration.

Hartford sold McCann a flood policy that provided $250,000 in building coverage and $100,000 for contents. It agreed to pay McCann $41,299, although she estimated that Sandy caused $74,900 in building damage. Because McCann’s policy contained a $2,000 deductible for contents coverage, her net recovery for contents damaged by Sandy was zero after Hartford estimated her loss to be $852, according to the lawsuit.

McCann appointed an appraiser in July and requested that the matter proceed under the provision of Submission to Appraisers clause in her policy. The suit says, however, that Hartford indicated in a September letter to McCann that it was declining to participate in the appraisal process or submit her claim to an appraisal in order to resolve the coverage discrepancy.

The complaint, which was removed to U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on Nov. 20, seeks an order compelling Hartford to proceed with the Submission to Appraisers process, in addition to reimbursement for fees and costs.

 

McCann is represented by Deana L. Walsh of Chance & McCann in Bridgeton, N.J.

McCann v. Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, No. 13-7067 (D. N.J.).

Complaint Ref# SAN-1311-08