If you have ever had an insurance claim or negotiated a loss on behalf of a property owner, you would probably agree that one of the most frustrating aspects of the claims investigation process is the virtually endless set of documents requested from the insurance company. Finding and sending all the documents can take days, weeks, or sometimes even months. Even after you provide an insurance carrier a packet of anything and everything in your possession relating to the loss, there’s a good chance you will receive a response from the insurer asking for more documents or a copy of the one receipt from 2008 you just don’t have.
Many people do not realize that every insurer authorized to conduct business in the State of Florida is required by law to provide a clear explanation as to why it is requesting these documents. This is one of the nine duties imposed by Section 626.9541(i) of the Florida Statutes, which states that an insurer commits “unfair claim settlement practices” when it fails to “clearly explain the nature of requested information and the reasons why such information is necessary.”
If you are going through the claim investigation process with a particularly “needy” insurer and are receiving endless requests for documents, keep this statutory duty in mind. When an insurance carrier does not provide a clear explanation as to why the information is necessary for the processing of the claim within its request, ask them for it. The carrier should respond to your inquiry, considering that Section 626.9541 also imposes a duty on insurers to “acknowledge and act promptly upon communications with respect to claims.” The worst thing that could happen is that the insurer provides the explanation. But if the insurer realizes that it cannot articulate a clear reason for the document request, then it should (at least in theory) withdraw the request.