Corey Harris and I will host the second discussion of Proofs Of Loss this Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. EST. Viewers who hear the livestream are also invited to receive our new e-book with information on the proofs of loss of the Merlin Law Group.
I want to say hello to Cal Spoon. Cal hosted an educational event for public adjusters, and one of his students, who was posted on Facebook, learned that a notarized proof of loss was not required. Cal Spoon knows which states and which guidelines may require a notary's signature. However, his student's contribution led me to this series, which was about proofs of loss.
Do evidence of loss have to be notarized? Read the following decision by the Federal Court: 1
The plaintiffs did not meet the requirements for affidavits or sworn statements under section 1746. In order to correctly execute an affidavit, the plaintiffs had to have their POL notarized. In order to correctly carry out an unworn statement, the plaintiffs had to confirm that the facts contained in the POL were true and correct, and that their statements were made under the penalty of perjury. The plaintiffs' POL is not notarized and contains no statement that the content of the POL is true under penalty of perjury. The POL states: "I hereby declare and confirm that the information contained in this letter is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief." The POL therefore does not meet SFIP's requirement that the declaration must be "sworn in". See Hagstotz v. Nationwide courage. Ins. Co., No. 17-2491, 2018 WL 5005000 at * 4 (DNJ October 16, 2018) (stating that a POL must either be notarized or meet the requirements of 28 USC § 1746 in order to qualify as “ sworn in "to apply to the SFIP).
Ouch! Yes, in many circumstances the proof of loss must be notarized. Most insurance company adjusters overlook this requirement, and many states do not require it by law.
What is the Chip Merlin Rule? Better safe than sorry. If the policy requires a "sworn" proof of loss, have it sworn in. If a notary's signature is required, get it. What is the disadvantage if the directive requires it?
Here is a link for discussion on Friday. I hope you will attend and ask questions.
1Clark v. Wright Nat’l Flood Ins. Co., 380 F. Supp. 3d 523, 530 (E.D. La. 2019).