Francisco Garcia

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Policyholders Beware: When You Hear “Drip…Drop” Think “Tic Tock”

When homeowners discover a plumbing issue in their home, there are usually several things running through their minds: investigating the source of the leak, stopping and fixing the problem, and drying as much of the water as possible. One thing that can be easily overlooked, especially by insureds who have never experienced a plumbing leak … Continue Reading

To Plea or Not to Plea? Insurer’s Denial of Coverage for Residential Fire Loss Upheld

I recently came across an interesting opinion, Fuller v. Mercury Insurance Company of Georgia,1 where the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals discussed the effect of a guilty plea on a policyholder’s civil action against their insurance carrier. The opinion stemmed from a residential fire loss and the insured’s subsequent claim for benefits under her homeowner’s … Continue Reading

Better Late Than Never? Don’t Think So – Voluntary, Untimely Payment of Benefits Does Not Absolve Carrier from Liability for Bad Faith in Florida

It has been over 30 years since Florida lawmakers enacted section 624.155, which was designed to provide a civil remedy when an insurer fails to settle their policyholder’s claim in good faith or commits any one of the unfair claims handling practices identified in section 626.9541(1)(i). Yet, to this day, questions still arise on one … Continue Reading

Don’t Allow Your Property Insurance Claim To Get Lost In Translation – The Benefits Of A Bi-Lingual Attorney

We can all agree that the insurance claims process can be a difficult one to navigate. Now imagine if on top of understanding policy coverages and exclusions, responding to endless requests for documents, and ensuring that all benefits are timely paid, the entire process was in a foreign language. For many Spanish-speaking policyholders – including … Continue Reading

El Ajuste De Reclamaciones Por Daños Causado Por Huracán María: Lo Que Todos Los Asegurados De Puerto Rico Deben Saber

Para los millones de asegurados en Puerto Rico que sufrieron daños a su propiedad por Huracán María, estos momentos han sido uno de los más difíciles que han pasado en tiempos recientes. Para muchos de ustedes con póliza de seguro de daños a sus hogares, desgraciadamente será un proceso de mucho estresante, arduo y largo. … Continue Reading

Have Something to Say About Citizens’ Proposed 2016 Rate Changes for Commercial Property and Homeowners Policies? Here’s Your Chance

If you happen to be at or near the Florida Senate Office Building at the State Capitol Building this morning, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) is conducting a public hearing in Room 401 at 9:00 AM to discuss Citizens’ proposed 2016 rate changes. Whether the rate increases or decrease, the proposed changes would … Continue Reading

Carrier’s Response to Letters of Representation by Florida Public Adjusters – Informative or Unfair Claims Handling Practice?

I was discussing a property insurance claim with a colleague a few weeks ago when he mentioned a letter that was sent to an insured from the insurance carrier shortly after their public adjuster submitted his letter of representation. The letter suggested that the insured review the public adjuster’s contract and fee structure to make … Continue Reading

Bad Faith and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

A little over seven months have passed since the Supreme Court of Florida heard oral arguments from the attorneys for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation and Perdido Condominium Association. For those readers who are not familiar with what lead to the issue coming before the state’s supreme court, the case stems from a decision by Florida’s … Continue Reading

Rescission Of Coverage When Misrepresentation In Policy Application Is Not Material To Acceptance Of Risk

Often, when a property insurance claim is reported (even one undisputedly covered) one of the first things many carriers will do is review the application for the policy to see if the insured answered questions either incorrectly or incompletely. This is because Section 627.409 of the Florida Statute allows insurers, in certain limited circumstances, to … Continue Reading

Grandson Residing on Property Was an “Insured” for Purposes of Policy’s “Intentional Loss” Exclusion

In property insurance coverage disputes, whether or not someone is considered an “Insured” depends on a variety of factors. The first step is to look to the language of the governing insurance policy to see how an “Insured” is defined. Often, however, the answer to this question turns on the facts surrounding any given claim … Continue Reading

Questions “Of Great Public Importance” Certified to Florida Supreme Court Regarding FIGA’s Obligation to Homeowners with Sinkhole Claims – Part 2

In my previous blog post, I gave shared an overview of the facts surrounding Florida Insurance Guaranty Association v. De La Fuente,1 which lead Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal (2nd DCA) to certify two unique questions involving FIGA’s liability in sinkhole claims as being "of great public importance." Part 2 of this blog series … Continue Reading

Questions “Of Great Public Importance” Certified to Florida Supreme Court Regarding FIGA’s Obligation to Homeowners with Sinkhole Claims – Part 1

Suffering a sinkhole loss is already difficult enough, but for those homeowners with a claim being handled by FIGA, the process can often become even more complicated. This can occur when the terms of the insurance contract issued by the original, now insolvent, insurance carrier arguably conflict with FIGA’s duties and obligations under the Florida … Continue Reading

Appellate Court Rejects Insurance Carrier’s Argument (Again) that Insured “Concealed” Material Fact By Not Providing Sinkhole Report

A while back, my colleague, Shane Smith, wrote about a case, Herrera v. Tower Hill Preferred Insurance Company,1 where Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal considered – and then rejected – Tower Hill’s claim that its insured had violated the policy’s “Concealment or Fraud” and “Duties After Loss” provision by not disclosing their sinkhole expert’s … Continue Reading

Question of Whether Insured Waived Appraisal Should Focus on Conduct After Coverage Has Been Admitted

Recently, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed an order compelling Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) to participate in an appraisal of a policyholder’s sinkhole claim.1 The insureds had originally filed suit against Homewise Preferred Insurance Company in 2010, after Homewise denied coverage. But in 2012, FIGA notified the insureds that it was assuming the … Continue Reading

Court Finds Burden of Proof For Sinkhole Loss Was Improperly Placed On Homeowner

Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal recently reversed final judgment against a homeowner and remanded for a retrial after a jury was instructed that the insured had to prove the damages to his home were caused by a sinkhole. The case, Mejia v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation,1 stemmed from an insurance claim brought by a … Continue Reading

Regulators Approve Even More Takeouts from Citizens Property – Including 50,000 to Newly Licensed Anchor Property & Casualty

Another 182,000 insurance policies have been approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) to be transferred to private insurers, (commonly referred to as “takeout” companies), in 2015 as part of the state’s ongoing effort to reduce the number of policies handled by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. While it is unlikely that all will … Continue Reading

“You Want What!?” – Why Insurance Companies Must Provide Clear Explanation Behind Document Requests

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, … Continue Reading

Heritage Insurance Taking Over More Than Two-Thousand Commercial Residential Policies From Citizens – Is Your Policy One of Them?

If you’re an insured with a commercial residential policy issued by Citizens Property Insurance, or if you’re assisting an insured with a claim under one of these policies, it is important to know the answer to the question above. Why? It will make a big difference in terms of which insurance carrier a loss should … Continue Reading

Will Legislative Intent Play Crucial Role in Florida Supreme Court’s Decision Regarding Citizens Bad Faith Immunity?

One of the many questions faced by the Florida Supreme Court is whether the lawmakers who drafted the statutory scheme which created Citizens Property Insurance Corporation intended to grant the insurance carrier immunity from liability for bad faith causes of actions. Not surprisingly, the issue came up during oral argument last week when Perdido Sun … Continue Reading

Florida Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Citizens’ Claim of “Sovereign Immunity” in First-Party Bad Faith Actions

Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to review a First District Court of Appeal order which held that "Citizens’ immunity does not extend to the ‘willful tort’ of failing to attempt in good faith to settle claims as provided by section 624.155, Florida Statutes."1 On Tuesday, October 7th, both Citizens and the insured, … Continue Reading

Texas Appellate Court: Alleged Fabrication of Photographs Did Not Warrant Million Dollar and “Death Penalty” Sanctions Against Insured

Regardless of whether you’re the plaintiff or defendant in an insurance dispute, fabricating or otherwise altering evidence can have some very serious consequences. Earlier this summer, the Sixth District Texas Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion involving two of the most severe sanctions parties can face under Texas law for such misconduct – monetary … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Finds “Reckless” and “Grossly Negligent” Conduct By BP Led to 2010 Oil Spill

The almost 4-year long court battle surrounding the BP Oil Spill seems to have taken a turn for the worst for BP. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana determined the London-based company’s gross negligence and willful misconduct led to millions of gallons of oil being spilled into the Gulf … Continue Reading
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