Offers and demands MUST SPECIFICALLY BE FOLLOWED in the insurance/bodily injury world

In Lunas v. Cooperativa, 37 Fla. L. Weekly D2568, 2nd DCA, November 2, 2012, the Second District Court of appeal reversed the trial court’s order granting a motion to enforce settlement between an insurer and insured.  In this sinkhole case, the insured demanded to settle a claim requesting two checks: one payable to the insured and mortgagee and the other to the insured, insured’s attorney and public adjuster.  The carrier responded with one check, but complied with the remainder of the demand. Judge Casanueva, writing for the Second DCA determined simply their was no meeting of the minds as two checks were not written and reversed the trial’s order.
Practice Tip:  Review each and every part of a demand letter. Number the conditions to settle and completely mirror the requests.  If not you will be facing a potential bad faith action down the road.

Bad Faith Insurance Defense Preparedness

Recently I mistakenly received a request to attend a Plaintiff’s bad faith seminar entitled “Bad Faith Insurance Summit”. As I represent insurers in these matters I could not go. To all my friends in the insurance industry, take a second to look at the link (www.360advocacy.com) describing the seminars at the summit presentation. The topics include:

  • Recognize, preserve and strategize the bad faith claim
  • Uncover the evidence of the insurer’s misconduct
  • Understand the inner workings of the insurance companies, including the claims handing process and their settlement process
  • Delve into the juror’s subconscious – the Reptile

While I agree with  the Plaintiff’s lawyer/Reptile commentary, this serves as an example at how prepared our opposition is on bad faith matters and how we should strive collectively to defend these suits.

The Bad Faith Trial – A New Defense Perspective

While researching  “reported” jury verdicts on bad faith matters I ran across a  striking statistic: roughly 87% of the reported decisions were favorable to Plaintiff’s. Any kind of bad faith trial, especially an insurer’s defense verdict seems to be a rare commodity these days. With increased training for claims staff over the last several years (see SHM’s list of Florida approved seminars) I question why these cases are still settled after reviewing claim files and the underlying defense attorney’s file.  As we know, those on the Plaintiff’s side will not be putting down their legal briefs or marketing their services to other plaintiff’s lawyers without a real reason to do so. The following will be an ongoing blog entry on a trial of the bad faith claim and how the training and preparation of the same will assist the entire insurance industry from more of these claims in the future. Click here to read more »

Florida Law Update

The Supreme Court of Florida addressed an important bad faith issue in the Perrara v. United States Fidelity and Guarantee Company, matter on May 6, 2010.  The case came to the Supreme Court after the Eleventh Circuit certified the following question to the Supreme Court:

May a cause of action for third-party bad faith against an indemnity insurer be maintained when the insurer’s actions were not a cause of the damages to the insured or when the insurer’s actions never resulted in exposure to liability in excess of the policy limits of the insured’s polices?”

District Court Grants Summary Judgment in Favor of Insurer on Bad Faith Claim

Though Florida courts regularly deny summary judgment motions in bad faith cases on the basis that such claims present questions of fact appropriate only for jurors, the court in Shin Crest Pte, Ltd. v. AIU Ins. Co.¸605 F. Supp. 2d 1234 (M.D. Fla. 2009), boldly granted such a motion filed by AIU in a case involving a stipulated judgment of $12 million. Click here to read more »