Batiz v. Fire Ins. ExchangeAnnotate this Case
After a fire damaged Oscar Batiz's residential rental property, Batiz filed a claim with his carrier, Fire Insurance Exchange. Exchange initially tendered to Batiz $33,182 representing the actual cash value of the damaged property, later raising that amount to $8,415 after both parties chose an impartial appraiser and an umpire determined the cost to repair the property was $43,921. Batiz did not cash the payment and brought a declaratory action against Exchange. Both parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. The circuit court granted Exchange's motion for summary judgment, dismissing Batiz's action without prejudice. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding that (1) the circuit court did not err in determining that a declaratory judgment against Exchange was unwarranted because the insurance policy unambiguously provided what rights and obligations the parties had; and (2) the circuit court was correct in ruling that Batiz's assertion that the vast difference between his appraiser's and the umpire's valuations presented a justiciable issue requiring the court to determine the amount of loss was premature as Batiz had not yet repaired or replaced the damaged property. Remanded.