Oklahoma joined the majority of court in finding that after a loss occurs, the insured can assign the policy to another. Johnson v. CSAA Gen. Ins. Co., 2020 Okla LEXIS 118 (Okla. Dec. 15, 2020).
Johnson’s property was damaged in a storm. She filed a claim with her insurer. She also executed an assignment of her claim in order to repair the property with the execution of assignment to Triple Diamond Construction LLC. An appraiser retained by Triple Diamond determined the storm damage was $36,346.06. The insurer paid only $21,725.36 for the loss.
Johnson and Triple Diamond sued the insurer for breach of contract, seeking $14,620.70, not inclusive of interest, attorneys’ fees and costs. The insurer filed a motion to dismiss, or an alternative motion for summary judgment to dismiss Triple Diamond as a party. The insurer argued that both the policy and an Oklahoma statute barred the assignment. The district court granted the insurer’s motion.
After review of Oklahoma law and cases across the country on assignments of a policy post-loss, the Supreme Court reversed. Distinguishing between an assignment of a policy and an assignment of a post-loss chose in action which did not increase the insurer’s risk was recognised by the majority of courts as implementing an important public policy. An assignment by an insured possessing an insurable interest when the subject of the assignment was a post-loss chose in action was valid in Oklahoma. The district court’s dismissal of Triple Diamond was reversed.