In the insurance business, claims are the most significant expense. This is why the prompt yet efficient processing of claims is the paramount consideration for insurance companies and third party-administrators. Successful companies recognize that with each claim comes an opportunity to minimize losses. However, this can be a difficult task when the company is put at odds with its insured. The good news is that by subjecting each claim to a series of filters the claim process can still allow a company to effectively serve both the interests of its customer, as well as that of its own.
One effective filter that is often used in the early stages of the claim process is an Examination Under Oath (EUO). When a company wants a thorough investigation or desires answers to questions for which the claimant only provides a vague response, an EUO can provide a cost –conscious method for collecting valuable information.
A timely EUO will allow the company to address the issue of fault and can be extremely helpful when a company suspects a false claim. EUO’s can typically be conducted in a matter of hours, and will often reveal information or evidence that would otherwise only be obtainable during litigation. As a result, it is common for claims in which an EUO is conducted to be resolved long before litigation would otherwise arise.
The concern with EUO’s is that the scope can become too broad. This type of questioning should not be performed by individuals unfamiliar with the process or the rules by which the game is to be played. The questioning can quickly become harassing if not confined to the issues and subject-matter that is relevant to the underlying claim.
Although not required, it is recommended that EUO’s be left to experienced insurance defense counsel. Lawyers who regularly engage in this type of questioning possess the ability and temperament needed to maximize the value of this loss minimizing opportunity.
Williams, McClure & Parmelee is dedicated to high quality legal representation of businesses and insurance companies in a variety of matters. We are experienced Texas civil litigation attorneys based in Fort Worth who know Texas courts and Texas law. For more information, please contact the law firm at 817-335-8800. The firm’s office location is 5601 Bridge Street, Suite 300, Fort Worth, Texas 76112.