Claim extensions for recoverable depreciation Ron asked 7 months ago
Claim extensions for recoverable depreciation

Our insurance company repeatedly confirmed about the time frames with the following language. “And that can be recovered, per insurance guidelines and rules in Iowa, within 180 days from last Actual Cash Value payment.” However, suddenly, without any notification, we received an email “The time frame for recoverable depreciation did expire. This was based on the payment on 1/12/2023. The most recent payment did not add any recoverable depreciation to your estimate and it did not reset the time frame for the recoverable depreciation.” Could you help us to find the Iowa laws that would apply to this? Also, are there requirements applying to timely and properly communications and notifications around depreciation expirations from insurance companies? Thank you.

Jade, thank you! You are a diamond.

1 Answers
Jade Bentz Jade Bentz Expert answered 7 months ago

Ron, thank you for the detail and reaching out with your inquiry. Regarding the applicable laws – unfortunately an attorney, specifically a first party property attorney, would need to advise you as the specific circumstances of your matter, the policy forms and endorsements, will all play into any relevant statutes and case law. (You do want to consult with someone that handles first party property as although it’s based around a contract it’s a niche field). However I can share that Iowa is a NAIC state which means they follow the model act and there are certain best practices on notifications communications and timelines that the insurance companies are required to comply with. In addition IA does have an insurance code which addresses insurance companies failures to effectuate a fair and equitable settlement of the claim. An alternative to the attorney consult at this time may be to ask the insurance company to cite the insurance guidelines and rules to which they are quoting surrounding the depreciation instead of giving a vague statement of “per insurance guidelines and rules in Iowa”. If they advised the time frames throughout the process indicating you still had time, and then after the fact rescinded or explained a technicality which would now bar you from recovering depreciation you had anticipated you would be able to recover and notified them you intended to ultimately recover that is certainly something I would argue and you could even file a complaint with the department of insurance. If they made a payment in January but you were still negotiating the claim – if they issued another payment later I would argue that is still a payment against the Actual Cash Value of your total loss. The policy document does dictate the contract terms and if there is no ambiguity it is usually the governing document, but as mentioned each case is typically evaluated on its merits and specific circumstances. The insurance companies have the authority to extend those deadlines. I would suggest getting together a list of all payments made, what they were for, as well as any communications (email or letter) from the carrier on payments and the recoverable depreciation, a list of documents you submitted to them and when and consult with an attorney to identify if they are in breach of the policy and IA law. You should also be cognizant of any suit limitations within the policy, they can be as early as one year from the date of loss. Apologies no direct answer on the laws but hope this helps with your next steps.