This is the second installment in our two-part blog post analyzing the valuable takeaways for policyholders from a recent Florida federal court decision. The decision reviews the necessary requirements for bringing a claim for insurance bad faith under Florida Stat. §624.155 and Florida Stat. §629.9541. Part I of this blog focused on the information that must be included in a Civil Remedy Notice (CRN) prior to pursuing a claim for insurance bad faith. Part II focuses on timing limitations that affect the evidence used in bad faith claims. In this second installment, we also examine the lessons that can be gleaned from this recent decision.
Court Rejects Basing Punitive Damage Claim on Conduct Outside 60 Day Period to Cure
While the court concluded that the information provided by the insured in the CRN was sufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the court sided with the insurer regarding the punitive damage claim. The court rejected the insured’s attempt to use the discrepancy between the insurer’s damage calculation (approximately $64,000) and the appraisal award (approximately $381,000) as evidence of bad faith. The court accepted the insurer’s contention that the appraisal award did not occur until after expiration of the 60 day window to cure alleged bad faith conduct under the statutory framework of Florida law. Thus, the insurer had no opportunity to remedy any alleged bad faith based on the appraisal award during the 60 day period commencing with filing of the CRN.
Multiple CRNs Required?
Essentially, this decision appears to hold that you can only proceed on a bad faith claim based on the insurance company conduct that you placed the insurance company on notice of in the CRN filing. Practically speaking, an insured may need to file multiple CRNs. Do you have to file a new CRN every time that the insurance company commits a new act of bad faith? Maybe. Certainly more thought will need to go into the timing of the filing of a CRN.
If your insurance company is not acting properly in processing your claim, you are invited to contact our law firm to speak to an experienced Florida insurance attorney about your legal rights, including an insurance bad faith action. My law firm represents policyholders in insurance claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida. The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations. No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees. Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.