I am of the opinion that if your property insurer requests a sworn proof of loss, furnish one with the assistance of counsel (preferably). Ignoring the insurer’s request or refusing to comply with insurer’s request is NOT value-added; it is simply placing you at a disadvantage based on the insurer’s argument that you, as the insured, materially breached the policy. I generally find no value having to confront this expected argument. Instead, I find value making an effort to comply with post-loss obligations including the insurer’s request to submit a sworn proof of loss. Working with counsel can help you comply with post-loss obligations (conditions precedent) while not weakening the value or merits of your claim.
By way of example, in Edwards v. Safepoint Ins. Co., 46 Fla. L. Weekly D1086a (Fla. 4th DCA 2021), the insured did not provide its property insurer with the requested sworn proof of loss. The insurer moved for summary judgment that the insured’s failure to submit the sworn proof of loss was a material breach of the policy that rendered the policy ineffective. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment. The Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed explaining “[a] total failure to comply with policy provisions made a prerequisite to suit under the policy may constitute a breach precluding recovery from the insurer as a matter of law. If, however, the insured cooperates to some degree or provides an explanation for its noncompliance, a fact question is presented for resolution by a jury.” Edwards, supra, quoting Haiman v. Federal Ins. Co., 798 So.2d 811, 812 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001).