Youm v. Cincinnati Ins. Co.

No. FST CV 22-6056172 S, 2022 WL 2132733 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 14, 2022).

A Connecticut Superior Court has held that appraisal was not precluded by the insurer’s denial of coverage. Plaintiffs applied for an order to compel the defendant insurer to participate in an appraisal proceeding to determine the amount of loss sustained in a sewage loss. The insurer disclaimed coverage arguing that the appraisal proceeding would be a waste of time because the appraiser can only quantify the loss and could not resolve the coverage dispute. The court agreed with the plaintiffs, noting that nothing in the language of the appraisal provision in the policy or in the authorities cited by the insurer indicated that resolution of a coverage dispute must precede appraisal. In its reasoning, the court relied on Giulietti v. Connecticut Ins. Placement Facility, 205 Conn. 424 (1987), where the Connecticut Supreme Court held that appraisal could proceed even though the coverage dispute had not yet been resolved. The Giulietti court reasoned that if an insurer could avoid appraisal by simply denying coverage, the policyholder’s right to appraisal under the appraisal clause would be illusory. Therefore, the court granted the plaintiff’s application to compel an appraisal proceeding despite the ongoing coverage dispute.