Corey Harris and I will present a final discussion about proofs of loss, analyze a case about forfeiture of insurance benefits, and discuss claim implications from impending Tropical Storm Cristobal. This discussion will be held at 2 pm EST today.

For those attending, you can obtain the Merlin eBook about Proofs of Loss.

Tropical Storm Cristobal is predicted be a major flood event:

Cristobal is forecast to re-emerge over the southern Gulf of Mexico on Friday and move northward over the central and northern Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. There is a risk of tropical storm force winds this weekend from Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle and a risk of dangerous storm surge from Louisiana to the Florida Big Bend. These hazards will arrive well in advance of and extend well east of Cristobal’s center. Storm surge and tropical storm watches will likely be issued for a portion of the U.S. Gulf Coast on Friday.

It will strike areas which are routinely flooded by similar past storms. Accordingly, we will have an in-depth discussion reminding everybody about the exacting content and time requirements the National Flood Program places on Proofs of Loss. A national flood proof of loss is unlike any other and many claims are ruined by the failure to properly submit one.

Corey and I were successfully involved in a case which involved the two-year requirement contained in many law and ordinance coverage provisions. We won arguing that forfeitures of coverage are not favored in the law. The court stated:

Florida law abhors forfeitures. As a result, [i]f an insurer intends to stand on any forfeiture reservation, it should inform the insured as soon as practicable after it has ascertained facts upon which it bases its forfeiture. It is equally well established that when an insurer has knowledge of the existence of facts justifying a forfeiture of the policy, any unequivocal act which recognizes the continued existence of the policy or which is wholly inconsistent with a forfeiture, will constitute a waiver.1

One law review article, Draconian Forfeitures of Insurance: Commonplace, Indefensible, and Unnecessary, concluded the same and stated:

The punishment does not fit the crime. Forfeiture is a draconian, anachronistic, archaic, and profoundly anti-consumer sanction. Outside insurance law, “hornbook” remedies for breach of contract no longer include forfeiture, if indeed they ever did. Forfeiture is mentioned in most contexts only in connection with a discussion of agreed contractual remedies, such as liquidated damages or specific performance, and even then it is often described as an unenforceable penalty.

We will talk about forfeitures in the context of proofs of loss and how non-forfeiture should apply to other clauses and benefits in the insurance contract. Hope you can join us later this afternoon for the discussion. Here is the link.

Thought For The Day

If once you forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.
—Abraham Lincoln
1 Axis Surplus Ins. Co. v. Caribbean Beach Club Association, Inc., 164 So.3d 684 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014).