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Florida court delays claim immunity decision

Having an insurance claim denied can quickly become a financial nightmare. Whether it be for housing damage, an auto accident, or an on-the-job injury, In times of denial of compensation, often legal action and the filing of a suit is the best means of recouping lost damages. In this regard, Florida policyholders should take special notice of an ongoing Supreme Court decision.

The Florida Supreme Court has decided to delay a decision on whether or not an insurance corporation can exploit its status as a state-backed enterprise in order to protect itself from bad faith lawsuits following claims. This kind of sovereign immunity is a legal precedent that protects government entities from being sued, but usually does not extend to private companies.

The case is the result of a lawsuit filed by a condominium association after the insurer failed to settle property damage claims after 2004's Hurricane Ivan. In an unsigned statement from judges opposed to the company's legal immunity, justices reasserted that to extend the law's bad faith protection may very well render it "essentially meaningless" in its intended exculpation of government figures.

Florida's current immunity law bestows immunity so long as an employee is not proven to have acted in bad faith, with malicious purpose, or with wanton and willful disregard. Although the outcome of the decision remains to be decided, the debate surrounding it could bring forward numerous other policyholders who fear their insurers have sought refuge in unfounded immunity.

The goal of an insurance policy bad faith suit is to keep insurer's honest and responsible for the protection they have agreed to provide. If companies renege on their responsibilities and attempt to hide broad legal language and costly court proceedings, an experienced business law attorney may be a claimant's best resource for securing rightful restitution.

Source: The Republic, "Florida justices delay insurance bad faith case, rule favorably on employee immunity," Bill Kaczor, Nov. 15, 2012

Our firm can help policy owners guarantee the protection they've been promised. For more information, contact our Florida homeowners insurance law page.

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