What Is An Examination Under Oath? An examination under oath, or EUO, is an insurance company’s opportunity to learn more about you and your claim. Property owners are required to sit for an examination under oath under the terms of an insurance company’s policy.
During an examination under oath an insurance company’s adjuster, or lawyer, takes sworn testimony from the property owner. A court reporter, sworn to accurately record the testimony, will take down questions posed by the insurance company and answers from the property owner. The examination is usually done in in a conference room at an office, library, hotel, or some place of business.
Examinations under oath are called for many reasons. A few common reasons are as follows:
• Examine allegations the property owner is committing fraud.
• Understand all possible causes of observed damage.
• Learn about personal property claims where there is little documentation.
• Consider the property owner’s lifestyle for an additional living expenses claim.
Examinations under oath are important because they are recorded. Answers to questions are recorded testimony that can be used in other forums. For example, they can be used in appraisal, a lawsuit, or can be given to prosecutors pursuing a fraud claim.
In states where I am licensed the duty to sit for an examination under oath is endorsed by law. State statute can mandate, or endorse, language in an insurance policy requiring an examination under oath. The form policy language from the state can look like the following: after being informed of the right to counsel and that any answers may be used against the insured in later civil or criminal proceedings, the insured shall, within a reasonable period after demand by this company, submit to examinations under oath by any person named by this company, and subscribe the oath.
Most insurers will inform a property owner, in writing, of the right to have a lawyer present before an examination under oath. It’s a good idea to have a lawyer prepare and be present for the examination.
Examinations Under Oath are very serious. Admissions, careless testimony, or speculation about facts can come back to haunt the property owner. The property owner has to proceed with care – and be thoughtful. It’s best to have a solid memory of the facts: when the loss or damage happened, why it happened, and why the amount claimed is claimed. Preparation is key to good testimony.
Can a property owner limit the questions posed by an insurance company? Yes. Every property owner ought to have the right to understand the question posed. An adjuster or lawyer should not ask a “compound” question (one sentence with multiple questions). The length of an examination under oath should be reasonable and there should be breaks. Questions that have nothing to do with a loss, such as a property owner’s relationship with loved ones years ago, should be refused. The principle to apply is this: does the question help an insurer assess the merits of a claim? If not, the property owner ought to narrow the focus of the questions.
Contact us if you have any questions about your examination under oath.