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In an examination under oath (LUO), a representative of the insured (when the insured is a business entity) or the named insured (when the insured is an individual) is placed under oath, akin to a deposition, and is asked a series of questions by a representative of the insurer so that the insurer is able to further investigate and adjust the insurance claim. The questions asked at an EUO should be material to the insurance claim under evaluation.

EUOs are generally treated as a condition precedent to insurance coverage.1 Nearly all first-party property insurance policies contain a provision allowing the insurer to examine the insured under oath. Courts have long upheld EUO provisions, finding them necessary to give the parties to the insurance contract an opportunity to share and acquire material information about the loss.2

What Is the Purpose of an EUO?

The purpose of an EUO was first announced by the United States Supreme Court in 1884 as enabling the insurer "to possess itself of all knowledge, and all information as to other sources and means of knowledge, in regard to the facts, material to [its] rights, to enable [it] to decide upon [its] obligations, and to protect [it] against false claims."3 More succinctly, "[t]he purpose of the examination under oath is to enable the insurer to obtain the information necessary to process the claim."4 An EUO also permits the insurer to assess the insured's demeanor and trustworthiness when obtaining detailed information concerning the insured's claim.

What Is the Procedure for an EUO?

As stated above, the EUO itself is very similar to a deposition. The insured is sworn in at the onset of the examination, and a stenographer records the entire proceeding. An EUO is considered sworn testimony. The insured is entitled to be represented by counsel at an...