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Connecticut Federal Court Holds No Cause of Action Exists for An Independent Adjuster’s Negligence

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Danielsen v. USAA Cas. Ins. Co., et al., 3:15-cv-00878 (VAB) D. Conn., (Nov. 24, 2015). The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut dismissed a cause of action sounding in negligence against an independent insurance adjuster retained by an insurance company. In Danielson, the insureds brought suit against its carrier’s independent adjuster contending that the adjuster had prepared a negligent estimate and neglected to include damage to the homeowner’s personal property in his scope of loss.

In its decision on a motion to dismiss, the Federal Court noted that there is a split among state jurisdictions over whether an insured can maintain a cause of action for negligence against an independent adjuster. The Court also acknowledged that no Connecticut appellate court has ever decided the issue. Nevertheless, the Court concluded that certification to the Connecticut Supreme Court was not appropriate, as a number of Superior Court Judges ruling on the issue have held that an independent adjuster does not owe a duty to an insured because (1) the relationship between the adjuster and insured is sufficiently attenuated by the insurer’s control over the adjuster; and (2) the insured as not left without a remedy by such a rule because he or she could still bring a bad faith claim against the insurer as a source of recovery.