Insurance Customs & Practices Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Insurance Dispute Row

Plaintiff filed suit against defendants related to an insurance claim. Plaintiffs hired an Insurance Customs & Practices Expert Witness to provide testimony.  Defendants filed a motion to exclude this testimony, which was denied by the court.

Facts:  This case (Edmark Auto, Inc. et al v. Zurich, Inc. et al – Idaho District Court – March 1st, 2019) involves an insurance dispute.  The case involves a long running business relationship between two automobile dealers and a pair of insurance companies.  The plaintiffs have hired Insurance Customs & Practices Expert Witness Robert Anderson to provide testimony.  The defendants have filed a motion to exclude this expert witness testimony.

Discussion:  Mr. Anderson is an insurance executive with forty years of experience, which includes the negotiation of specialty insurance programs.  The defendants’ first argument is that Mr. Anderson does not have the qualifications required to testify about Vehicle Service Contracts (“VCS”).  They argue a testifying expert in this case must be familiar with the VSC market.  The court opines that, although Mr. Anderson may lack familiarity with VSCs specifically, his forty years of experience in the insurance industry make him well qualified to testify as an expert in this matter.

Next, the defendants state that Mr. Anderson’s report and is merely a retelling of the plaintiffs’ theory of the case which threatens to invade the province of the jury.  The court opines that it will allow Mr. Anderson to testify about customs and practices within the insurance industry and the defendants conduct in comparison to those customs and prices, there is a risk that Mr. Anderson’s testimony may run into the province of the jury.  This risk, the court opines, will be policed at trial.

Also, the defendants challenge Mr. Anderson’s calculation of the defendants rate of return on the funds that the plaintiffs deposited with them pursuant to the agreement between the parties.  The court denies that part of the motion as well.

The court thus opines that the defendants are not entitled to the exclusion of Mr. Anderson’s report.  The court notes that the defendants remain free to argue their point at trial, but it is not appropriate basis upon which to exclude the report.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude this expert from testifying is denied.