I commend to your reading the recent case of Spears v. Tennessee Farmers Mutual Insurance Company, No. M2008-00842-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Middle Section), filed July 17, 2009. For a PDF copy of this case, download here (pdf). In this case, the Court was presented with the question of whether the failure of an insured to answer questions in an examination under oath was a material breach of the policy terms, and whether compliance with an EUO request was a condition precedent to the insured’s recovery under the policy. The Court noted:
We likewise find that submission to answer questions under oath when requested as provided for in the insurance policy at issue is a condition precedent to an insured’s recovery under that policy.
As an aside, the court also acknowledged that depositions are different than examination under oath (see my post of June 18, 2009 under “Claim Tips”). The Court found that:
Giving a deposition after having filed suit against the insurer for failing to pay an insurance claim does not constitute cooperation under the terms of the policy.
The Court noted that Tennessee Farmers’ decision to seek an examination under oath was discretionary, but once the carrier made such a request, the policyholder was under an obligation to submit.