Residents in Palm Beach, Miami, and throughout southern Florida count on their insurance providers to be there when they need them. The entire purpose of paying premiums into an insurance policy is to provide peace of mind, knowing that necessary support will be provided in case some unexpected or harmful event occurs. In this way, policyholders place significant trust in their insurance companies, counting on them to act reasonably to abide by the terms of the policies in a timely, fair manner.
Unfortunately companies breach that trust time and again, dragging residents throughout unnecessary battles after denying claims, providing inadequate support, or delaying payment. When this happens, policyholders have legal options to hold the insurance company accountable for their conduct.
That is exactly what happened in a case, Perdido Sun v. Citizens Property Insurance Corp. recently decided in a Florida appeals court. In an opinion from earlier this week, the First District Court of Appeal in Florida overturned a lower court decision and found that an insurance company–Citizens Property Insurance Corporation–could be held accountable for bad faith liability when they fail to act “carefully, timely, diligently, and in good faith.” This rule is solemnized under Florida law, guaranteeing residents some protection when they are mistreated by their insurers.
The unique argument made by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in challenging the case was that they were immune from the law as a “quasi governmental entity.” However, the appeals court rejected that claim. The Court noted that Citizens is somewhat different than other insurers because of its responsibilities to the state to manage assets. However, this special relationship and partial immunity “does not extend to the willful tort of failing to attempt in good faith to settle claims as provided by” Florida law.
In other words, the company does not have complete discretion when dealing with community members. They need to act fairly and efficiently when handling policy claims, and their failure to do so may result in legal action.
Hopefully, this ruling acts as an important spur to ensure Citizens deals with future claims properly. This is especially important considering that it is Florida’s largest property insurance provider.
Fight Bad Faith Insurance Conduct in Miami & Palm Beach
At the end of the day, Florida residents must never forget that they have legal options when they are mistreated by their insurance companies. Far too often, these companies try to bully community members into accepting far less than they are owed or accepting no recovery at all. This is unacceptable, and experienced bad faith insurance lawyers can act as your aggressive advocate, ensuring your legal rights are respected and your receive what is due under your policy.
For help on these matters in Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and many other nearby communities, please contact the insurance claim lawyer at the Law Offices of Eric H. Luckman today.