No Bad Faith When Insurer Relied On Opinion Of Independent Consultant

The Court of Appeals of Georgia recently held that an insurer’s reliance on the report of an independent consultant creates a presumption that it did not act in bad faith in denying coverage.

In Montgomery v. Travelers Home and Marine Ins. Co., 859 S.E.2d 130 (Ga. Ct. App. 2021), the insured made a claim under her homeowners insurance policy for water damage to her basement that she asserted had been caused by a ruptured garden hose.

The insurer’s claims adjuster inspected the property two days later and saw damage that appeared to be from ground water rather than the ruptured hose.

The adjuster sought input from his supervisor, who suggested that he hire an independent engineer to determine the cause of the water damage.

The insurer retained a structural engineer, who inspected the property and observed conditions on several basement walls that indicated moisture had seeped into the basement from the ground outside over a period of time.

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