From Our Perspective: Fought Insurance Claim Denial and Won

Jon Topolewski
By: Jon Topolewski
PublishedFeb 15, 2024
2 minute read

From Our Perspective: Fought Insurance Claim Denial and Won

By: Jon Topolewski

Robinson & Henry’s knowledgeable attorneys give their professional insight in “From Our Perspective” where we take a closer look at successful outcomes achieved by our attorneys. We’ll also share our legal expertise on other cases and legal issues in Colorado.

In this episode, Robinson & Henry Litigation Partner Jon Topolewski explains how he helped a client in his battle against his insurance company.

Our client, a Colorado real estate agent, was initially denied coverage by his insurance company when he needed it the most. Our client faced a lawsuit from a homebuyer buyer for allegedly not disclosing some defects. Despite having an Errors and Omissions policy, our client’s insurance company refused to defend him, leaving him to spend tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. That’s where Jon came in. 

Jon got to work to recover the money our client had to fork out for his defense when he  was sued for allegedly failing to disclose property defects. Jon successfully interpreted the policy based on Colorado law, and demonstrated the insurer’s obligation to cover the agent. Based on Jon’s findings, the insurance company agreed to settle with our client. 

Remember, insurance policies are often complex and favor the insurer. By understanding your policy and acting quickly, you can increase your chances of securing the coverage you deserve.

Past results afford no guarantee of future results; each matter is different and must be judged on its own merits. Facts are those of an actual Robinson & Henry litigation case. 

Question: John, thank you for joining me today. Tell me more about our client and why they reached out to you.

Jon:  Our client was a real estate agent. He and his client, the seller of a property, were sued by the purchaser of the property.

They allege that they had failed to disclose some defects in the property. The client denied having any knowledge or doing anything wrong, so we reached out to his insurance carrier. Real estate brokers, typically, carry what is called an errors and omissions policy that is intended to protect them in this exact circumstance. Obviously, he was quite surprised when his insurance company said, ‘We’re not going to defend you.’

He had to spend tens of thousands of dollars of his own money to successfully defend the case. And then he wanted to know if there was something he could do to go after his insurance company for not doing the thing that he paid them to do.

Question: That’s why he reached out to you, what were some of the biggest challenges you encountered in this case?

Jon: Him reaching out late and not contacting us right away created the challenge of a lot of communications and emails and things coming across which, you know, the insurance company used against him later because he wasn’t familiar with what the policy said. He wasn’t familiar with some of the exclusions.

Fortunately, we were able to interpret the policy in a way. In court, in connection with Colorado law that said they had to cover him despite those statements. So because it had taken that much time and there were these facts that the insurance company was latching on to, it made it a bit more difficult.

Question: Ultimately, how were you able to help our client in this situation?

Jon: You mean the law’s the law, so at a certain point, the insurance company, as much as they might fight it, you make them realize that this is what it is. We were able to get a meeting with the insurance company and one of the judges here in federal court so that the judge could explain to the insurance company why they’re wrong and behooves them to pay this now as opposed to pay more later.

Question: What advice do you have for other professionals whose insurance carriers have not fulfilled their duty to defend?

Jon: Insurance policies are written in a confusing manner for a reason so that you don’t fully understand what they should and shouldn’t do. And they’re written in a way that is skewed towards the insurance company’s benefit. If you’re in a situation where you think your insurance policy should cover you and they don’t, stop what you’re doing, contact us and we can make sure that your situation is resolved. The insurance company does what they’re supposed to do.

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