A federal district court in New Jersey, in a Superstorm Sandy coverage case, has ruled thata homeowner’s insurance company’s letter to its insureds amountedto an unequivocal denial of benefits for purposes of the policy’ssuit limitations period, even though it also referenced benefitsthat would be paid, did not use the word “denial,” did notreference the policy’s suit limitations period, and noted that theinsureds could appeal.

The Case

On October 29, 2012, the home owned by Robert and Jamie Ryan at 26Buttonwood Lane in Rumson, New Jersey, was damaged by SuperstormSandy.

The next day, the Ryans notified their homeowner’s insurancecarrier, Liberty MutualFire Insurance Company, that the entire main floor of theirhome had been damaged by Sandy.

On November 15, 2012, an independent adjuster retained byLiberty Mutual inspected the Ryans’ home. A second inspection wasconducted on November 29, 2012.

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Steven A. Meyerowitz

Steven A. Meyerowitz, a Harvard Law School graduate, is the founder and president of Meyerowitz Communications Inc., a law firm marketing communications consulting company. He may be contacted at [email protected].