A recent case from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals demonstrates the necessity of properly documenting the details of a settlement after agreement is reached on the amount. In Singler v. Zurich American Insurance Co., 2014AP391, Robert Singler and Zurich American Insurance Co. agreed to settle Singler’s personal injury claims for $1.9 million on the eve of trial. It does not appear that the parties signed a formal settlement agreement, but instead documented the settlement in an exchange of letters between their counsel. In one communication, Zurich’s attorney indicated that it “would take at least a month to get the check authorized out of Australia,” but the parties never agreed on a specific date by which Zurich would provide the payment.
When Zurich still had not paid six weeks later, Singler asked the circuit court to assess interest under Wis. Stat. § 628.46(1), which lets claimants collect 12% interest if an insurer does not pay a claim within 30 days. The circuit court agreed and awarded Singler $23,112.42 in interest, on top of the settlement amount.