Examinations Under Oath
You must cooperate with reasonable requests for information and documents from your insurance company that relate to your claim. If your insurance company has unanswered questions about items in your claim, they may ask you to give a recorded statement or participate in an “Examination Under Oath” (often referred to as an “EUO”).
Insurer are now commonly demanding EUOs. Although an adjuster may state that they just want to ask you a few questions an Examination Under Oath is very similar to a deposition and can take six (6) to eight (8) hours depending on the claim and the attorney asking the questions. It is very important to realize that the insurer is not requesting an EUO for fun. They have an attorney asking you questions to attempt to deny your claim or to limit the scope and costs of the claim. Why else would your insurance company spend their money on hiring an attorney to review your file and interrogate you? You should remember that although most attorneys are just doing their job, their job is to protect their client, the insurer, and to deny the claim or reduce the value of the claim as much as possible. These attorneys need to justify their existence and reduce the value of the claim by at least three (3x) to five (5x) times the insurer’s costs to hire them.
I do not believe that anyone should submit to any Examination Under Oath if they are not represented by counsel. The insurer has an attorney, shouldn’t you. There are many questions that can be asked that may not seem important, but can render your policy of insurance void and allow for a denial of your claim. Often attorneys will question you as to your insurance application. Many times your insurance agent fills out this application or you simply call in and give someone your information. If the insurer discovers that there are any “material misrepresentations” on the insurance application they will deny the claim. Types of “material misrepresentations” include but are not limited to misstatements as to prior losses, misstatements as to persons living in the home, misstatements as to contracts with tenants, misstatements as to the use of the premise and misstatements as to the value of the property or contents.
All insurers require that you provide a number of documents prior to or at an EUO. The production of documents and things is part of your post loss requirements under the policy of insurance. These requested documents can be helpful for your claim or could be very harmful for your claim. It is very important that you have your attorney review the document requests and documents to be produced prior to the EUO. Often insurers will demand documents and things that they are not entitled to. They may tell you that you have to produce documents from ten (10) or twenty (20) years ago. They may request personal and confidential condominium documents including board minutes, unit owner files, credit applications, correspondence and documents to and from your public adjuster or attorney. Generally speaking these documents do not need to be produced. A good attorney will be able to review the insurer’s requests and only provide the documents that must “reasonably” be produced. Moreover, a good attorney will tell you that you have a number of documents that are responsive to the insurer’s demands and should be produced although you did not think that these documents were requested.
Consult with an attorney before submitting to an EUO or producing documents that are requested by an insurer.