Insurers and their policyholders are more frequently clashing over sinkhole claims, and the Florida Legislature seems to be weighing in on the insurers’ side. In this case, the policyholder won; his insurer paid the policy limits after a Civil Remedy Notice, and his claim for damages caused by the insurer’s lack of good faith in handling the total loss claim has survived the first gauntlet: the insurer’s motion to dismiss.
A recent and significant Order by Judge Stanley Mills discussed claims resolved through appraisal and complaints of improper claims conduct made through formal Civil Remedy Notices. The matter involved a sinkhole claim that took nearly three years before full payment was made. The State Farm policyholders spent thousands of dollars on experts and appraisal costs because State Farm did not pay the full amount of the claim.
Dennis Wall‘s weekend post, Florida Civil Remedy Notice Insurer Violation Holding: "Sufficiently Specific" Requirement, raises an important issue concerning bad faith cases in Florida. While the Florida Supreme Court ponders common law obligations of good faith in a first party context, as discussed in A Confusing Oral Argument in QBE vs. Chalfonte Baffles the Florida Supreme Court Regarding First Party Bad Faith, a raging legal battle ensues in many statutory bad faith actions because insurance companies complain that civil remedy notice of violation is not sufficient.