Kentucky court upholds insurer right to compel EUOs
8/28/2017Important precedent could help defend interviews against challenge in other states
August 28, 2017, Frankfort, Ky. — Insurers have a right to compel claimants to be interviewed under oath, Kentucky's Supreme Court ruled. The closely watched decision is a major victory for insurers, the fraud-fighting community and consumers.
“EUOs are a vital tool to help deter and prosecute fraud. This ruling will aid fraud-fighting efforts and help keep premiums in check,” said Dennis Jay, executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
The ruling reverses a lower-court decision last year that said insurers have no such right because examinations under oath are not specifically written into the state’s no-fault law.
The Kentucky decision also sets an important precedent that could help protect EUOs from challenge by trial lawyers in other states.
The Coalition and National Insurance Crime Bureau defended insurer use of EUOs in a joint amicus brief to the state Supreme Court.
Requiring court orders “encourages litigation by forcing insurers to obtain a discovery order from a court every time it is necessary to investigate a claim,” the Coalition and NICB argued.
The underlying case involved two Kentucky motorists who claimed they were injured in a crash. They sought no-fault auto benefits from State Farm, yet refused to take part in an EUO. The insurer must obtain a court order to conduct the interview, the lower court ruled. State Farm appealed to Kentucky’s highest court.
The expensive, time-consuming effort to obtain EUOs will weaken anti-fraud efforts in Kentucky. “The result is higher premiums, potentially higher coverage deductibles, and the threat that insurers will cease doing business in Kentucky if they cannot efficiently combat suspected fraudulent claims and financial loss becomes guaranteed,” the Coalition and NICB contended in their amicus brief to the state Supreme Court.
“(EUOs) benefit insurers and honest claimants by providing a means for determining the circumstance of accidents and the nature of injuries, and an intelligent, well-formed decision as to the applicability of coverage,” the anti-fraud groups added.
The case is Adams v. State Farm. The court decision can be downloaded from InsuranceFraud.org.