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 Condominium Association’s counsel noted,

It is clear to me, from a full reading of the Citizens Statute that the Legislature was out to help the individuals. And they make it clear that they don’t want those individual insureds of Citizens to be in any worst situation than a private insured.

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

This is part two of my earlier post, Florida Appellate Court Defines The Meaning Of The Term "Disinterested" As It Relates To Appraisal Provision, concerning the recent opinion in FIGA v. Branco.1 The 5th DCA opinion discussed the scope of appraisal. This is often a common issue that policyholders and insurance carriers have when a claim proceeds to appraisal – does the dispute concern coverage or amount of loss? Often the insurance carrier will assert that the dispute involves a question of coverage which is not appropriate for appraisal. Appraisal deals with an amount of loss question. Well the Branco case has a good discussion and analysis on this topic.

Continue Reading Florida Appellate Court Opinion Regarding the Extent or Scope of Appraisal

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, Perdido Sun Condominium Association, presented their respective arguments to the Court on what may be one of the most important issues faced in first-party property claim arena: whether Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is immune from suit under the cause of action created by Section 624.155(1)(B), Florida Statutes, for not attempting in good faith to settle claims.

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

Almost two months ago I wrote a blog about the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s announcement it was issuing orders for insurance companies to end a 1.3 percent “emergency assessment” for the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which provides backup coverage to insurers.1

Continue Reading Citizens Property Insurance Approves July 1, 2015 End to Surcharge

Homeowners are not happy with People’s Trust Insurance Company, but its advertising hasn’t stopped in the Tampa area. While many new policies in Broward, West Palm, and Miami were dropped just after policyholders locked in, others with this insurance company are sounding off about their bad claim experiences.

Continue Reading People’s Trust Claims Everybody Wins with its “Reinvented” Insurance, but Policyholders Disagree

Recently the Fourth District Court of Appeal (“4th DCA”) abated a bad faith case brought against Safeco. The underlying issue of coverage was also involved in the lawsuit. We have often discussed how Florida law requires a determination of liability and extent of damages before a bad faith action can proceed. The 4th DCA decided to abate and not dismiss a bad faith action against Safeco Insurance Company in an opinion issued September 17, 2014.1

Continue Reading Bad Faith Case Against Safeco Abated, Not Dismissed, in Florida

Each year the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) publishes an Annual Report for the prior year pursuant to Florida Statute Section 624.315. I was researching another issue when I thought this would be a good blog post. This report briefly describes OIR roles and responsibilities, summarizes major activities and accomplishments, and highlights the state of the Florida insurance market, insurance complaints and the impact of the insurance industry on the Florida economy. It also contains company financial, market share, and premium information.

Continue Reading Financial Data from the Office of Insurance Regulation May Surprise You

Following my post on September 8, 2014, I received a comment from Matthew Litsky, Esq., a very experienced attorney from the firm, Phelps Dunbar, LLP. Mr. Litsky posed a great question related to the opinion in Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company.1 Here is what he asked:

What is the range for a “favorable resolution”; not in terms of is there substantive bad faith or not, but whether the action can even proceed per this opinion? Is it $5 for the award above the money paid by the Insurer? Is it a percentage above? Is how much the Insured sought relevant? Is it now a separate analysis for whether a bad faith claim can proceed because there was a "favorable resolution" before you ever get to whether there is or is not bad faith?

Continue Reading In Florida, an Appraisal Award May Be a Final Determination of Liability For a Bad Faith Case – Update 2

On August 30, 2014, I wrote about a hot topic in Florida that concerns whether a policyholder can pursue a bad faith case against their insurance company after the claim proceeds through the appraisal process and an award is entered: In Florida, an Appraisal Award May Be a Final Determination of Liability For a Bad Faith Case. Continuing on the discussion of this topic is a recent case of Merlin Law Group attorney Kelly Kubiak from Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal (“4th DCA”), Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company.1

Continue Reading In Florida, An Appraisal Award May Be A Final Determination Of Liability For A Bad Faith Case – Update

The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (FHCF)1 is a state fund created in November 1993, during a special legislative session after Hurricane Andrew. The purpose of the FHCF is to protect and advance the state’s interest in maintaining insurance capacity in Florida by providing reimbursements to private insurers for a portion of their catastrophic hurricane losses. The money in the fund has grown over the past ten years because Florida hasn’t been hit by a hurricane since Wilma in 2005.

Continue Reading Bye Bye Florida Hurricane Tax