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Equine Insurance Policy Notice Requirements

Imagine the shock of returning from a lengthy vacation only to learn that your horse died at the boarding stable soon after you left, but stable management could not reach you to consent to needed surgery.  Your horse was put down.  Imagine the further shock when your equine insurance company advises you that it has denied your claim because nobody gave it proper or timely notice of your horse’s illness and death.

Equine insurance policies usually require that you give the company (or designated representative) prompt notice of an insured horse's illness, lameness, or injury.  Insurers take these provisions very seriously, and many will deny claims on the basis that they were not given proper notice.  When this happens, litigation sometimes follows.

Equine Mortality Insurance

Equine mortality insurance policies are designed to pay you a sum of money after your horse dies from illness, injury, disease, or accident.  These policies may also provide coverage if your horse is stolen.  As a condition to their issuance, these policies require that the insured horse be in good health and free from any injury, disease, or disability at the time the application is made (or, in some cases the insurer could impose an “exclusion” through which it will not cover certain pre-existing conditions).

The Notice Condition

A common requirement of equine mortality policies is that the horse owner give the insurance company “prompt” or “immediate” notice of illness, lameness, or injury.  Notice requirements vary among insurers.  One equine mortality policy sets it forth this way:

It is a condition precedent to any liability of the Company hereunder that:

  1. the Insured shall at all times provide proper care and attention for each animal hereby insured, and
  2. in addition, in the event of any illness, disease, lameness, injury, accident, or physical disability whatsoever of or to an insured animal the insured shall immediately at his own expense employ a qualified Veterinary Surgeon and shall, if required by the Company, allow removal for treatment, and
  3. in either event the insured shall immediately give notice by telephone or telegram to the person or persons specified on the policy who will instruct a Veterinary Surgeon on the Company's behalf if deemed necessary.

Avoiding Disputes

Notice disputes can be avoided.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Read your insurance policy carefully.  Pay particular attention to its requirements, especially that you give the insurance company “prompt” or “immediate” notice of any injury or illness to the insured horse.  Never assume that you will be relieved of this burden if you fail or refuse to read your policy.
  2. Give the insurer notice.  To help you satisfy the notice requirement, your policy will provide a 24-hour, toll-free number to contact the insurer or its designated claims representative.  Most likely, this number will NOT be the number of the insurance agent that sold you the policy.
  3. Keep notice information handy and share it freely.  Once you receive the emergency contact number, keep it on hand and give it to your boarding stable, your trainer, and everyone who has custody of your horse in your absence.  Before leaving town for a vacation or business trip, confirm that these people have the information in case you cannot be reached and will provide the insurer notice in your absence.
  4. Prepare to call any time.  Prepare to make a notice call at all times.  Insurers expect these calls all day, all night, and on holidays.
  5. Give the insurer the opportunity to speak with your veterinarian.  Some insurance companies might want to speak to the attending veterinarian, especially if the horse is seriously ill and might be a candidate for humane euthanasia.  Give the insurer that opportunity.

If you have any questions about equine mortality insurance, please give me a call or shoot me an email.

Categories: Boarding, Insurance, Liability

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is considered to be one of the nation's leading attorneys in the field of equine law. She has successfully tried equine cases before juries in four states. A frequent author and speaker on legal issues, she has written over 400 published articles, four books, and has lectured at seminars, conventions, and conferences in 29 states on issues involving law, liability, risk management, and insurance. For more information, please also visit www.fershtmanlaw.com and www.equinelaw.net, and www.equinelaw.info.

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Contact Us - Julie Fershtman

"Julie Fershtman is considered by many to be the nation's leading expert on equine activity liability acts. Her 30-minute presentation for a recent educational webinar on equine activity liability acts for the American Horse Council is available for viewing. Please take a look, here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCROISSPMJs

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Wins Fourth National Award

Julie Fershtman’s latest book, Equine Law and Horse Sense, won its fourth national award on May 31, 2021. It was selected to receive a "Finalist" Medal in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. 

The 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards are presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group, which is the largest International awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. Here’s a link for the complete list of 2021 winners and finalists: https://www.indiebookawards.com/winners.php?year=2021 

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Receives Third National Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine Law & Horse Sense, published by the American Bar Association, has been selected to receive a 2020 NYC Big Book Award in the category of “Reference” books.

The NYC Big Book Awards draws nominations world-wide. This is the third award for Fershtman’s book since its publication last year. Here is a link for more information, and to see the list of winners: https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Information on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/164105493X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

In 2022, Julie Fershtman is scheduled to be a speaker on equine liability at these conventions:

Fershtman’s Equine Law Book Receives Second National Award

Julie Fershtman’s book, Equine Law & Horse Sense, published by the American Bar Association, has been selected to receive a 2020 NYC Big Book Award in the category of “Reference” books.

The NYC Big Book Awards draws nominations world-wide. This is the third award for Fershtman’s book since its publication last year. Here is a link for more information, and to see the list of winners: https://www.nycbigbookaward.com/2020winners

Information on the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/164105493X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p1_i0

Our Equine law blog (and its author) in the news!

Julie Fershtman, author of our popular and prolific Equine Law Blog, was interviewed by the State Bar of Michigan. The interview, which called Fershtman "Lawyer-Blogger," discussed our Equine Law Blog. We truly believe that this blog is the nation's most active blog serving the equine industry on equine law topics, and we thank you for visiting it. Read more here.

Honors & Recognitions

Equine lawyer, Julie Fershtman, has received these prestigious equine industry awards from respected equine organizations:

"Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award" - American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Law Section Animal Law Committee

"Distinguished Service Award" - American Youth Horse Council

"Industry Service Award" - Michigan Equine Partnership

"Catalyst Award"- Michigan Horse Council

"Outstanding Achievement Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Partner in Safety Award" - American Riding Instructors Association 

"Associate Service Award" - United Professional Horseman's Association

"National Partnership in Safety" Award" - Certified Horsemanship Association 

Some of our Equine Law Services

Handling breach of contract, fraud/ misrepresentation, commercial code, and other claims involving equine-related transactions including purchases/sales, leases, mare leases/foal transfers, and partnerships.

Litigating a wide variety of equine-related disputes in court or through alternative dispute resolution (arbitration, mediation, facilitation).

Defending equine/farm/equestrian industry professionals,  businesses, and associations in personal injury claims and lawsuits.

Drafting and negotiating contracts for boarding, training, sales, waivers/releases, leases, and numerous other equine-related transactions.

Representing and advising insurers on  coverage and policy language as well as litigation;

Advising equine industry clubs and associations regarding management, rules, bylaws, disputes, and regulations.

Representing some of the equine industry's top trainers, competitors, stables, and associations.

Counseling industry professionals, stable managers, and individual horse owners. 

THE NATION'S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER EQUINE LAW SPEAKER

Did you know Julie Fershtman has spoken at the American Horse Council Annual Meeting, Equine Affaire, US Hunter/Jumper Association Annual Meeting, Midwest Horse Fair, Equitana USA, US Dressage Federation Annual Meeting, North American Riding for the Handicapped (now PATH International) Annual Meeting, American Paint Horse Association Annual Meeting, US Pony Clubs, Inc.'s Annual Meeting, All-American Quarter Horse Congress, American Youth Horse Council Annual Meeting, American Riding Instructors Association Annual Meeting, CHA Annual Meeting, and numerous others? Consider signing her up for your convention. Contact Julie directly.

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