Amy Boggs has an interesting case against QBE Insurance Company which has recently moved from the contract portion of the case to the claims practice a/k/a Bad Faith case. The condominium client we represent is The Dorsett House Condominium Association which was damaged from Hurricane Wilma. QBE Insurance Company insured many condominiums in Florida and has been the subject of much criticism. It recently lost a trial where the verdict on the contract damages was over $20 million.

The Order allowing the Dorsett House case to move forward was filed after our client successfully won additional amounts QBE failed to pay following Hurricane Wilma. The Court noted that despite the matter moving through appraisal, the Statutory Bad Faith claim could move forward:

“QBE argues that the proposed amendment is futile because it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law based on the fact that it issued payment in the amount of the appraisal. For this proposition, QBE relies on 316, Inc. v. Maryland Casualty Company, 2008 WL 3926863 (N.D. Fla. 2008), in which the district court granted summary judgment to an insurer as to a § 624.155 bad-faith claim where the insurer timely paid the amount of the appraisal to its insured.

Although QBE’s payment of the appraisal certainly hinders its insured’s bad-faith claim, I agree with Dorset House that denying the proposed amendment as futile would be inappropriate at this juncture, given the scant record. Indeed, there are a wide range of settlement practices which would subject QBE to liability for bad faith under Florida law notwithstanding the eventual payment. See Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(l)(i)(3). I therefore find that the proposed bad-faith claim does not fail as a matter of law based on the record as presently constituted. QBE is free to raise this argument again after Dorset House has had the benefit of discovery.”

The case is currently in discovery with a relatively quick mediation scheduled in late June. In Florida, proving that an insurer engages in a general business practice of improper claims conduct is important. We are actively engaged in this fact-finding process. Accordingly, if there is anyone who has information or knows where there may be information regarding QBE claims conduct, please call our office or Amy Boggs at 813-229-1000.