Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A. - Insurance Dispute
Call Us - 305-577-3996
Main Menu
December 2010 Archives

197 Privacy Breaches and Counting

The year isn't over quite yet, but 2010 has already logged a remarkable number of privacy breaches. As of November 30, the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had received reports of 197 health insurance companies, health care providers and health data clearinghouses failing to protect individually identifiable health information as required under HIPAA and HITECH regulations. Nearly half of those reports have been made since July.

Victims of Privacy Breach File Class Action Lawsuit

Customers of Florida-based AvMed Health Plans have filed a class action lawsuit against the insurance company in connection with a breach of privacy that occurred in December 2009. Seeking unspecified damages, the plaintiffs claim that, in addition to failing to safeguard the private medical data, the company vastly underreported the number of customers affected by the breach.

Supreme Court Rejects Holocaust Survivors' Insurance Appeal

Late last month, a group of Holocaust survivors' efforts to have their dispute with an Italian life insurance company heard in court ended in defeat when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal. It was the second time the lead plaintiff had petitioned the Court to appeal his claim. Now it appears that only Congress can act to allow the survivors to sue the insurance company. There they face millions of dollars in insurance company lobbying.

HMOs Fined Millions for Failure to Pay Claims

Insurance regulators in Florida could not ignore the recent fines imposed on seven health maintenance organizations in California. The organizations were the targets of that state's Department of Managed Health Care investigation into complaints from doctors and other health care providers about insurance claim payment practices. The fines totaling $5 million were just part of the decision: The seven HMOs must also pay restitution to the providers, and that could add up to tens of millions of dollars.

Insurance Rates Rise in Florida Regardless of Fewer Hurricanes

The hurricane season of 2004 brought devastation to many areas in the southeast. Even though hurricanes have historically caused significant damage, what the people experienced six years ago was unlike any other. Florida experienced one of the busiest hurricane seasons in 2004, but since then Mother Nature seems to have calmed down for the time being. With fewer hurricanes over the past several years, insurance policyholders might expect insurance premiums to go down or at least stay the same. However, rates continue to increase.

Insurer Off the Hook in Chinese Drywall Case (p. 2)

In our last post, we were talking about a case involving a commercial general liability insurance carrier, Florida homeowners and a real estate developer. The underlying complaint involves the use of Chinese drywall and the damage to the home resulting from its use. As that complaint was making its way through the courts, the couple filed a motion to add unfair claim settlement practices to the suit. The court denied the motion, saying it was premature.

Insurer Off the Hook in Chinese Drywall Case

A complicated Florida case involving homeowners, developers, a commercial general liability insurance company and Chinese drywall has hit another road block. The homeowners and developers had filed a complaint earlier this year, alleging the insurance company denied their claim in bad faith. The court ruled against them. In the present case, the court has told them that the insurance company should not cover the claim at all.

Quiet Hurricane Season Keeps Insurance Losses 'In Line'

The world's second-largest reinsurance company announced this week that natural catastrophe losses rose from $22.7 billion in 2009 to $31 billion in the first 11 months of 2010. Man-made disasters -- notably British Petroleum's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and the ensuing oil spill -- have spurred about $5 billion in claims. Florida residents will not be surprised to hear that hurricane losses this year have been relatively low, resulting in a less egregious increase in insurance losses than initially expected.

Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin in the News

Attorneys at Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A., have been involved in the following high-profile cases, which were covered by the Law360 news service (http://www.law360.com):