Recently, an appeals court issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from a homeowner’s claim against his homeowner’s insurance company. The Florida insurance dispute arose after the homeowner filed a claim under his homeowner’s insurance for fire damage at his residence. The insurance company’s investigation revealed that the plaintiff filed previous claims and that his failure to repair previous damage overlapped with damage from the current claim. In response, amongst several claims, the homeowner filed a notice of insurer violations contending that the company delayed his claim, failed to act promptly, and offered an unsatisfactory settlement amount. The company responded outside of the statutory period citing outside factors claiming that the civil remedy notice (CRN) was invalid.
Under Florida Statute section 624.155, insurers must act in good faith in settling their policyholders’ claims. Floridians who have suffered damages because of an insurer’s conduct have a right to civil remedies. However, to effectuate these remedies, the policyholder must file a CRN with the insurance company and the Department of Financial Services (DFS). The CRN must state the cause of action with specificity.
In Florida, a CRN must include:
- The specific statutory violation;
- The facts giving rise to the violation;
- All individuals involved in the violation;
- Specific, relevant policy language; and
- A statement that the notice is provided to perfect the right to pursue the civil remedy.
In this case, the issue is whether the plaintiff satisfied Florida’s CRN requirements. Here, the homeowner listed every statutory provision in his policy and cited the entire policy as a violation. Previous courts held that citing the entire insurance policy section does not meet the CRN’s specificity requirement. The court found that the plaintiff’s failure to cite the relevant violation specifically was more than a technical defect.
Further, the plaintiff argued that the DFS maintained the authority to return deficient notices, allowing him the opportunity to preserve his rights. However, the court held that the statute provides that the DFS maintains a discretionary right to return notices. Here, the DFS’s failure to return the defective notice was not a breach. The court reasoned that the failure to return a deficient notice does not determine the notice’s legality. Ultimately, the court affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff’s bad faith claim, with prejudice.
Has Your Florida Insurer Engaged in Bad Faith?
If you have been a victim of a Florida insurance company’s bad faith, you should contact the Law Offices of Robert Dixon. Our law firm attorneys have years of experience handling claims against adversarial insurance companies and negligent wrongdoers. We handle claims stemming from Florida insurance disputes, motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. We have successfully recovered significant amounts of compensation for our clients through our experience, skills, and resources. We understand the devastating toll that accidents can have on a person and their families, and we work to ensure that insurance companies and other negligent parties are held responsible. Contact our law firm at 877-499-4878, to discuss your rights and remedies.