Monday, November 5, 2012

Obtaining the Easements from the Owners

When I was first assigned to the Claims Officer in Walnut Creek the first thing he was going to do was to try and obtain the easements again from their current owners.  After the claim was transferred first to Chicago and then the two Claims Counsels in Omaha no effort was made to obtain the lost easement again.

On June 25, 2009 the third Claims Counsel emailed the options for settling the claim:

1. Pay the insured his or her actual loss [Conditions and Stipulations 6].
2. Defend an insured who has been sued [Conditions and Stipulations 4(a)].
3. Prosecute an action on behalf of the insured to establish or clear title
[Conditions and Stipulations 4(b)).
4. Pay the insured policy limits [Conditions and Stipulations 6(a)].
5. Pay the party adverse to the insured [Conditions and Stipulations 4(b) and 6(b)].
6. Cure the insured's title by obtaining a deed, easement, release or other
instrument [Conditions and Stipulations 4(b) and 6(b)].

Looking at this list the first, fourth and sixth appear to be applicable to this claim.

To my knowledge no effort was made to cure the title by obtaining the easement.  A "cost to cure" appraisal was done by the appraiser from Boise Idaho and he determined that an 'equivalent' easement could be obtained with a value of purchase of $3500.  Today I was communicating with the owner who originally questioned this easement and as the easement across her property constituted approximately half of the lost easement - I thought I would ask her if she would have sold the easement across her property for $1750 and, if not, at what price.

"We have no interest in selling any easement through our property at any price," was her response.  I believe that this is understandable as both of the owners of this property are or have been public officials with the City of San Francisco and without my easement their property is very private.  They had purchased their property less than a year before the defect in the title was discovered for $2,500,000.