In yesterday’s decision QBE Insurance Corporation v. Chalfonte Condominium Association Inc., Case No. SC09-441 (Fla. May 31, 2012), the Florida Supreme Court held that insurance companies can break legal obligations and regulations without accountability.
These questions were presented to the Court:
1. Does Florida law recognize a claim for breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing by an insured against its insurer based on the insurer’s failure to investigate and assess the insured’s claim within a reasonable period of time?
2. If Florida law recognizes a claim for breach of the implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing based on an insurer’s failure to investigate and assess its insured’s claim within a reasonable period of time, is the good faith and fair dealing claim subject to the same bifurcation requirement applicable to a bad faith claim under Florida Statute § 624.155?
3. May an insured bring a claim against an insurer for failure to comply with the language and type-size requirements established by Florida Statute § 627.701(4)(a)?
4. Does an insurer’s failure to comply with the language and type-size requirements established by Florida Statute § 627.701(4)(a) render a noncompliant hurricane deductible provision in an insurance policy void and unenforceable?
5. Does language in an insurance policy mandating payment of benefits upon "entry of a final judgment" require an insurer to pay its insured upon entry of judgment at the trial level?
The Supreme Court held the answer to each question is "no." I am certain the bad actors in the insurance industry are giving each other high fives. For the good and honest players in the insurance market that pay claims promptly, fully and issue policies pursuant to the law rather than cheat and break the law, I am certain they are asking themselves why they should do so if it pays to break the law with impunity.
Florida judges have let us down. I will write more on this later.