Examinations under oath, "EUO's", serve a purpose different from a deposition. An insurance company is regularly asked to make a decision about payment or denial of a loss involving a sizeable sum of money without any ability to subpoena witnesses to testify. Most policies provide for the taking of sworn testimony.
Like Attorney Parks Chastain, whom I have never met, "I cannot count the number of times I have had an insured's lawyer misunderstand the difference between the two proceedings." EUO
As Parks correctly points out:
"[c]ases recognize that 'depositions and examinations under oath serve different purposes.' Nationwide Ins. Co. v. Nilsen, 745 So. 2d 264, 268 (Ala. 1999); accord Goldman v. State Farm Fire Gen. Ins. Co., 660 So. 2d 300, 305 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995). The Supreme Court of Alabama explained:
[A]n examination under oath is a part of the claims investigation process. In contrast, a deposition is not part of the claims investigation process; it is designed to facilitate the gathering of information once an insured has denied the insured’s claim.
Nationwide Ins. Co., 745 So. 2d 269; accord Goldman, 660 So. 2d 305 (listing numerous distinctions between EUO’s and depositions, one of which explains that “examinations under oath are taken before litigation to augment the insurer’s investigation of the claim while a deposition is not part of the claim process”); see also Archie v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 813 F. Supp. 1208, 1213 (S.D. Miss. 1992) (holding that depositions are different from examinations under oath); Craft v. Western Mut. Ins. Co., No. E030318, 2002 WL 225947, at *3 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 14, 2002) (“A deposition is not the examination under oath which the policy required.”)
Policyholders who refuse to appear for a scheduled examination can end up with their claim being denied. Some courts have held that an insured's failure to submit to an EUO is a material breach of the policy conditions which can result in denial according to attorney Robert Reynolds who practices in Coral Gables, Florida. Reynolds cited a sample of cases from various jurisdictions with their conclusions including courts that have upheld denial.