Illon Kantro, Esq.

Insurance defense attorney Illon Kantro and I were preparing for our upcoming presentation at the Windstorm Insurance Conference and discussed a recent case regarding Florida’s requirements for notice of a supplemental or reopened claim.1 If you are a policyholder, public adjuster, or contractor not involved with a Florida loss, you can stop reading. Only Florida’s crazy politicians in bed with the insurance industry and its lobbyists would ever make such bizarre requirements into insurance law.

For those involved with Florida claims, the holding is significant:

Patios West One Condominium Association, Inc. (Patios West) appeals the trial court’s order denying its motion to compel appraisal. The trial court denied the motion on the ground that the notice of supplemental or reopened claim sent by Patios West to its insurer was legally insufficient under section 627.70132, Florida Statutes (2017), because it did not include “some type of estimate” of damages. In so ruling, the trial court relied upon our sister court’s decision in Goldberg v. Universal Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 302 So. 3d 919 (Fla. 4th DCA 2020).

Upon our de novo review, we hold that the plain and unambiguous language of section 627.70132 does not require that an insured provide an estimate of damages in order to comply with the statutory requirement for providing an insurer with notice of a supplemental or reopened claim. We disagree with the Fourth District’s decision in Goldberg to the extent it holds otherwise, and reverse the trial court’s order in the instant case.

What is the lesson from this holding, and does this mean that the notice does not have to include an estimate of damage? “Better safe than sorry” is the lesson. Estimates and full descriptions of loss should be provided. The court noted that its holding is contrary to another appellate court, which raises the possibility that the issue could be resolved by the Florida Supreme Court. Other appellate courts could find one way or the other until this legal tie is broken.

The Windstorm Insurance Conference is a major annual conference for the property insurance claims industry. Panelists’ views from the insurance industry and policyholder views are discussed and respectfully debated. There is no other conference like it in the United States. If you are a player involved with windstorms, including hail-related claims, it is a must attend conference.

The title of the post, Bill Berk and John Pappas Provide a Unique Perspective About Insurance Bad Faith Claims Handling and Claims Ethics Found Only at the Windstorm Insurance Conference, sums up that view. I made the following comment in that post, which still holds true:

Going to seminars and discussions…help those wanting to be the best get there faster. It is not an easy road, but one everybody has to climb. Education is the quickest way and far superior to the school of hard knocks learned on your client’s dime.

Here is a link for registration.

Thought For The Day    

Education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom.

—Oprah Winfrey


1 Patios West One Condominium Assn. v. American Coastal Ins. Co., No. 3D22-1895 2024 WL 24782 (Fla. 3rd DCA Jan.3, 2024).