Jeremy Tyler’s post yesterday, More on the Collateral Source Rule, reminded me of a recent Florida federal court case with similar facts, Florida Farm Bureau General Insurance Company v. Jernigan, 2010 WL 3927816 (N.D. Fla. September 30, 2010).
In Florida Farm Bureau, the insurer, as a Write-Your-Own Program Carrier participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”), issued a Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”) covering the defendant’s property. The insured’s home was destroyed during Hurricane Ivan, and Farm Bureau tendered policy limits for the dwelling and contents. Farm Bureau also issued the insured a separate homeowner’s policy for $138,500 in coverage for damage due to a covered peril, which included wind but excluded flood. After receiving the policy limits from the SFIP, the insured filed a claim under the homeowners policy. That claim went to trial, the jury found the property was a total loss as a result of wind damage, and the insured was awarded the policy limits.
Farm Bureau filed suit, asserting a claim for unjust enrichment and seeking to recover the proceeds it paid the insured under the SFIP.
As Farm Bureau sought to recover funds paid under a SFIP, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida concluded that any remedy was limited to those set forth by FEMA in the federal flood insurance regulations and the NFIA, as interpreted under federal common law insurance principles. As there was no provision for the relief requested by Farm Bureau in the above mentioned law and the Court could not create federal common law cause of action, the Court concluded there was no cause of action for which Farm Bureau could recover.