Keeping up on the trends of property insurance law is why so many people come to this blog. U.S. District Judge Michael Moore recently made a point that some policyholder protection laws have no teeth because the policyholders that are harmed cannot enforce the insurance laws designed to protect them. He recently wrote:1
For better or worse, Plaintiffs are right to point out that Subsection (5)(a) will, at times, create a violation without a remedy—i.e., instances in which an insurer is found to have violated only the interest provisions of Subsection (5)(a) without any other violations meriting an omnibus benefits suit. For instance, were Plaintiffs’ legal and factual contentions to bear fruit in the case at bar without the ‘sole basis’ clause, the Court estimates that Plaintiffs would stand to recover about $30,000.00 in damages.
The Court is troubled by such a regime: Subsection (5)(a) explicitly prohibits conduct while simultaneously providing that conduct with a safe-harbor. And perhaps more-than-coincidentally, the Court notes a clear pattern of this Defendant facing allegations of failure to pay interest under Subsection (5)(a). We are not here to decide whether State Farm has been a good neighbor. But rightfully or wrongfully, State Farm has been implicated in several similar cases (some of which this Order rests upon.)… Yet the fact remains that any flaw in this framework is legislative in nature, as would be its fix. The Court shall not second-guess a purposeful legislative scheme without firmer statutory or legal basis to do so.
Florida Governor DeSantis and the current Florida Republican leadership are writing similar insurance laws which take away private causes of action for Florida policyholders who are harmed so that only an administrative entity can do anything about the violation. These are really faux consumer protections, and Floridians should be upset that these politicians think citizens will not catch on to the insurance company supported Republicans writing these laws.
Again, I am a registered Republican and even gave a six-figure donation to a former Republican governor running for President. Republican Donald Trump is correct to say that Republican DeSantis and the Republican Florida political leaders have sold out to the “globalist” insurers.
In this case, State Farm delayed payment of the amounts owed, and interest owed would be over $30,000 required to be paid by Florida Statute. Did State Farm pay what the law requires it to pay? No. The problem is that Florida law does not let the policyholder sue to enforce the interest owed. So, State Farm did not pay it despite the law requiring that it be paid.
The bottom line is that the harmed policyholders should be able to enforce the laws designed to protect them because those policyholders have the most motivation to enforce the laws against the wrongdoer insurance companies. Taxpayers should not have to pay money to support an unnecessary governmental entity to enforce laws better enforced by the people with the monies at stake.
Thought For The Day
I don’t want to be a sellout.
1 Barbato v. State Farm Florida Ins. Co., No 1:22-cv-22891 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 14, 2023).