To many people, even the thought of dealing with your insurance company is a headache. Unfortunately, insurance coverage is an important part of our lives, especially in areas such as home ownership, renter’s coverage, and auto insurance. When an insurance company in Florida acts in bad faith or causes damage to a policyholder because of their conduct, holding them accountable can be challenging without proper representation.
In a recent Florida District Court of Appeal case, the court considered whether a homeowner’s insurance claim was filed properly. According to the court’s opinion, the homeowner initially filed a claim with his homeowner’s insurance company for damages to his home that was caused by a fire.
The insurance company’s investigation revealed that the homeowner previously filed two plumbing claims and another claim for fire damage with a different insurance company. In addition, the insurance company discovered that after the homeowner received the insurance payout from one of the previous claims, he did not repair the damage. The company believed that earlier damage overlapped with damage from the current claim.
In response, the homeowner filed a civil remedy notice of insurer violations with Florida’s Department of Financial Services, and later filed a Florida bad faith insurance case. The lower court dismissed the homeowner’s complaint.
On appeal, the homeowner argued that the lower court erred when it dismissed his lawsuit. The appellate court, however, disagreed, finding in favor of the insurance company. Because the homeowner failed to file his civil remedy notice with the Florida Department of Financial Services with the proper specificity, the notice did not satisfy statutory requirements. Thus, the homeowner’s case was properly dismissed by the lower court, according to the Florida District Court of Appeal.
In Florida, there are laws that provide a civil remedy for individuals who are damaged by an insurer’s conduct. Before filing a lawsuit, however, potential plaintiffs in Florida must first file a civil remedy notice with the Department of Financial Services and with the insurer. To provide the insurer with proper notice of their alleged violation, the civil remedy notice must include a certain level of specificity. Florida law requires that the policyholder must “state with specificity” information in the notice and to specify the “language of the statute, which the authorized insurer allegedly violated” and to reference “specific policy language that is relevant to the violation.”
Sometimes, when policyholders file civil remedy notices, they are overly broad and do not adhere to the requirements that Florida law requires. For example, if a policyholder lists every statutory provision and every policy provision available to them as the insured or refers to the entire policy when asked to provide “specific policy language,” Florida courts have held that such notices are too broad and do not satisfy the requirements of the statute.
Furthermore, Florida courts have held that policyholders cannot simply make casual references to the entire insurance policy and that this would not meet the statute’s requirements. This is different, however, from a mere technical defect. If a policyholder purposely lists nearly every policy section and several dozen statutory provisions, then it is likely that they have failed to identify the specific statute and policy provision relevant to the alleged violation.
Do You Need a Florida Insurance Bad Faith Attorney?
If you or someone you know has recently experienced harm as a result of an insurance company’s conduct, contact the Florida bad faith insurance attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. Our lawyers have years of experience fighting for the injured and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation today, give us a call at 877-448-8585.