Can Insurance Adjusters be Recorded During Home Inspections?
On June 1, 2022,the Fourth District Court of Appeal of Florida in West Palm Beach held in favor of recording an insurance adjuster’s inspection at the insureds’ home. This decision may provide homeowners and public adjusters with a little peace of mind regarding property inspections of insurance claims.
Gesten v. American Strategic Insurance Corporation
The Fourth District Court of Appeal of Florida addressed this issue in Gesten v. American Strategies Insurance Corporation (“ASI”). The Gestens suffered a covered property loss due to a plumbing malfunction. As such, they hired a public adjuster to assist with the claim. The public adjuster contacted ASI and informed them the Gestens had granted permission to video record with audio the inspection. ASI objected to the audio recording.
On the day of the inspection, ASI’s attorney, insurance adjuster, and independent expert met the Gestens, their attorney, and the public adjuster at their property. The public adjuster strapped a video camera to him, as he intended to video and audio record the inspection. ASI’s attorney objected to the audio recording and left the property without the property inspection ever taking place.
The Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County heard the case. ASI argued that their policy’s language did not allow recordings and that audio recordings would harm ASI’s inspectors from freely discussing and evaluating the claim. The Gestens argued that the policy did not prohibit video or audio recordings, and that no law prevents insureds from doing so in their own home upon notice. The Court granted in ASI’s favor.
The Gestens appealed the decision, and the Fourth District Court of Appeal of Florida reversed the trial court’s decision. The court reiterated that, “an insurer’s appraiser has no legitimate expectation of privacy while in an insured’s home for an inspection, and thus audio and video recording of the inspection was allowed.” Furthermore, “the policy in this case is silent as to video or audio recording ASI or its agents… To the extent that the policy is considered uncertain, we are ‘compelled to construe the interpretation against the insurer.’”
Contact the Gelber Law Group for more information
Living with property damage can be stressful, and the insurance claim process can be lengthy. If you encounter property damage and your insurance claim has been wrongfully denied or underpaid, contact Gelber Law Group, PA to assist you with a free consultation at 954-320-0100.