Florida insurance companies review thousands of property damages claims a year. In an effort to expedite claims, companies require claimants to abide by various requirements. Many companies enforce a requirement to provide “sworn proof of loss.” Insurance companies claim that requirement allows them to assess claims quickly and fairly. Issues often arise when a claimant suffers a loss but fails to abide by the proof of loss requirement.
Several Florida cases address lawsuits involving a claimant’s failure to provide a sworn proof of loss. Together the cases hold that if a claimant files a lawsuit against an insurance company before submitting a required sworn proof of loss, the company is relieved of its duties under the policy, thus barring the lawsuit. However, if the claimant submits the proof of loss untimely, but before filing a lawsuit, courts will permit the lawsuits and determine whether the delay prejudiced the company.
Recently, a Florida appeals court issued an opinion addressing a case involving an untimely sworn proof of loss. The homeowner purchased an insurance policy from the company in 2017. A condition of the policy was that the insurance company had “no duty to provide coverage under this policy if the failure to comply with the following duties is prejudicial to us.” The homeowner appealed the lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of her home insurance company. At issue is a policy that requires the claimant to send a sworn proof of loss to the company within sixty days of the company’s request.