Property insurance policies have long-contained appraisal and arbitration provisions.1 Although both avenues offer insureds the ability to resolve their claims through extrajudicial means, each has clear distinctions and similarities. In certain circumstances, some issues may only be resolved through a trial court.
Continue Reading What May and May Not Be Resolved Through Appraisal or Arbitration in Florida?

Last month, I discussed the difference between insurance agents and insurance brokers, and how the actions of insurance agents, (and during limited circumstances, those of insurance brokers), can bind an insurance carrier. Here, I will discuss two different causes of action that may be brought against an insurance broker or an insurance agent: breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.
Continue Reading Breach of a Fiduciary Duty and Negligence by an Insurance Agent or Broker: What is the Difference?

Florida law distinguishes between insurance agents and insurance brokers.1 In Essex Ins. Co. v. Zota, the Florida Supreme Court defined an insurance broker as an individual who “represents the insured by acting as a middleman between the insured and the insurer, soliciting insurance from the public under no employment from any special company…[and] places it with a company selected by the insured.”2 If the insured has no preference as to the company, the broker can select the company.3 An insurance agent, on the other hand, is someone who “represents an insurer under an exclusive employment agreement by the insurance company.”4
Continue Reading When Can an Insurance Carrier be Liable for the Actions of its Agents?

As the year goes on, state and federal trial courts will continue to tackle legal issues brought on by COVID-19. One recent decision comes from the Middle District of Florida, which recently granted an insurance carrier’s Motion to Dismiss a dental practice’s Complaint brought under the business income and civil authority provisions of the policy.
Continue Reading Trial Court Grants Motion to Dismiss Complaint Based on Virus Exclusion in Policy

In a previous post, I discussed whether an insured can file a Civil Remedy Notice before coverage and liability are established and discussed Florida’s three requirements for bringing a bad-faith claim.1 In this post, I will go back to a fundamental question the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified to the Florida Supreme Court years ago. Under section 624.155(1)(b)(1), can an insured’s bad-faith claim accrue before the conclusion of the underlying litigation?2 The Florida Supreme Court answered in the negative.3
Continue Reading Should an insured bring an action for bad-faith at the same time as the breach-of-contract action?

In first-party property cases, it is common that an insured’s expert goes to a property after the loss to investigate. During the investigation, an expert may ask the insured questions that are necessary to formulate that expert’s opinions, such as the observable condition of the property before the insured’s loss, or which items have been visibly damaged. This is because, often, the expert has never been to the property and must formulate an opinion about the cause and/or extent of the damage following the loss.
Continue Reading Can Experts Rely on an Insured’s Statement in Formulating their Opinions?

In litigation, this type of question can come up more than one might imagine. For example, in response to a Complaint, an insurance carrier may allege that an insured failed to attend an Examination Under Oath (“EUO”) or submit a sworn proof of loss, only to later discover that no such request had ever been made. Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal addressed this very issue in First Home Insurance Company v. Fleurimond.1
Continue Reading When is an Insured Required to Attend an EUO or Submit a Sworn Proof of Loss?

With COVID-19 business closures, legislatures across the country have been grappling with new questions, including what protections may be afforded by business income insurance. As of late, members of legislatures in states like New York1 and Pennsylvania2 have all proposed legislation in favor of affording coverage for claims that might otherwise be excluded. While these bills have not passed, they may offer some indication about what legal issues could arise in the future.3
Continue Reading State Legislatures Aim to Afford COVID-19 Coverage

Business interruption can be a hot button topic among business owners and carriers alike. The purpose of business interruption insurance is to protect business owners for the loss that occurs for not being able to use a specified location.1 Questions often arise on how to compute the loss of revenue when a business’s operations fully close due to a covered loss. However, what can a business do to better protect itself if its operations are only partially interrupted?
Continue Reading Partial Business Shutdown: An Age-Old Lesson in Carefully Reading the Policy