Analysis and Interpretation by Michael A. Cassel
On April 24, 2019, and, again, on March 16, 2020, we published articles regarding the decisions in Alvarez v. State Farm and Beseler v. Avatar, respectively. The Alvarez opinion was being used for the proposition that an allegedly overinflated estimate is de facto fraud/material misrepresentation. We argued that this was not the case due to established case law culminating in the holding in Beseler.
More recently, on March 26, 2021, the Fourth District Court of Appeal released their opinion in the matter of Jennifer Mezadieu v. Safepoint Insurance Company (hereinafter "Mezadieu"). In Mezadieu, the appellate court analyzed whether a material misrepresentation even without an element of intent was sufficient to void coverage under the concealment or fraud provision of the governing policy. While the Mezadieu court found that coverage could be voided without intent, it is the particular facts of the case that lend themselves to such a finding. Overall, the position outlined in our prior articles remains unchanged: simply because an estimate is unilaterally deemed to be too high by an insurance company either in scope or price does not mean the insured has committed fraud or put forth a material misrepresentation sufficient to void coverage.