2023 Florida Statutes

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Title XXXVII INSURANCE
Chapter 624 INSURANCE CODE: ADMINISTRATION AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
SECTION 155Civil remedy.


1624.155 Civil remedy.
(1) Any person may bring a civil action against an insurer when such person is damaged:
(a) By a violation of any of the following provisions by the insurer:
1. Section 626.9541(1)(i), (o), or (x);
2. Section 626.9551;
3. Section 626.9705;
4. Section 626.9706;
5. Section 626.9707; or
6. Section 627.7283.
(b) By the commission of any of the following acts by the insurer:
1. Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due regard for her or his interests;
2. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under which payments are being made; or
3. Except as to liability coverages, failing to promptly settle claims, when the obligation to settle a claim has become reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the above to the contrary, a person pursuing a remedy under this section need not prove that such act was committed or performed with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice.

(2) Any party may bring a civil action against an unauthorized insurer if such party is damaged by a violation of s. 624.401 by the unauthorized insurer.
(3)(a) As a condition precedent to bringing an action under this section, the department and the authorized insurer must have been given 60 days’ written notice of the violation. Notice to the authorized insurer must be provided by the department to the e-mail address designated by the insurer under s. 624.422.
(b) The notice shall be on a form provided by the department and shall state with specificity the following information, and such other information as the department may require:
1. The statutory provision, including the specific language of the statute, which the authorized insurer allegedly violated.
2. The facts and circumstances giving rise to the violation.
3. The name of any individual involved in the violation.
4. Reference to specific policy language that is relevant to the violation, if any. If the person bringing the civil action is a third party claimant, she or he shall not be required to reference the specific policy language if the authorized insurer has not provided a copy of the policy to the third party claimant pursuant to written request.
5. A statement that the notice is given in order to perfect the right to pursue the civil remedy authorized by this section.
(c) No action shall lie if, within 60 days after the insurer receives notice from the department in accordance with this subsection, the damages are paid or the circumstances giving rise to the violation are corrected.
(d) The authorized insurer that is the recipient of a notice filed pursuant to this section shall report to the department on the disposition of the alleged violation.
(e) The applicable statute of limitations for an action under this section shall be tolled for a period of:
1. Sixty days after the insurer receives from the department the notice required by this subsection.
2. Sixty days after the date appraisal is invoked pursuant to paragraph (f).
(f) A notice required under this subsection may not be filed within 60 days after appraisal is invoked by any party in a residential property insurance claim.
(4)(a) An action for bad faith involving a liability insurance claim, including any such action brought under the common law, shall not lie if the insurer tenders the lesser of the policy limits or the amount demanded by the claimant within 90 days after receiving actual notice of a claim which is accompanied by sufficient evidence to support the amount of the claim.
(b) If an insurer does not tender the lesser of the policy limits or the amount demanded by the claimant within the 90-day period provided in paragraph (a), the existence of the 90-day period and that no bad faith action could lie had the insurer tendered the lesser of policy limits or the amount demanded by the claimant pursuant to paragraph (a) is inadmissible in any action seeking to establish bad faith on the part of the insurer.
(c) If the insurer fails to tender pursuant to paragraph (a) within the 90-day period, any applicable statute of limitations is extended for an additional 90 days.
(5) In any bad faith action, whether such action is brought under this section or is based on the common-law remedy for bad faith:
(a) Mere negligence alone is insufficient to constitute bad faith.
(b)1. The insured, claimant, and representative of the insured or claimant have a duty to act in good faith in furnishing information regarding the claim, in making demands of the insurer, in setting deadlines, and in attempting to settle the claim. This duty does not create a separate cause of action, but may only be considered pursuant to subparagraph 2.
2. In any action for bad faith against an insurer, the trier of fact may consider whether the insured, claimant, or representative of the insured or claimant did not act in good faith pursuant to this paragraph, in which case the trier of fact may reasonably reduce the amount of damages awarded against the insurer.
(6) If two or more third-party claimants have competing claims arising out of a single occurrence, which in total may exceed the available policy limits of one or more of the insured parties who may be liable to the third-party claimants, an insurer is not liable beyond the available policy limits for failure to pay all or any portion of the available policy limits to one or more of the third-party claimants if, within 90 days after receiving notice of the competing claims in excess of the available policy limits, the insurer complies with either paragraph (a) or paragraph (b):
(a) The insurer files an interpleader action under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. If the claims of the competing third-party claimants are found to be in excess of the policy limits, the third-party claimants are entitled to a prorated share of the policy limits as determined by the trier of fact. An insurer’s interpleader action does not alter or amend the insurer’s obligation to defend its insured.
(b) Pursuant to binding arbitration that has been agreed to by the insurer and the third-party claimants, the insurer makes the entire amount of the policy limits available for payment to the competing third-party claimants before a qualified arbitrator agreed to by the insurer and such third-party claimants at the expense of the insurer. The third-party claimants are entitled to a prorated share of the policy limits as determined by the arbitrator, who must consider the comparative fault, if any, of each third-party claimant, and the total likely outcome at trial based upon the total of the economic and noneconomic damages submitted to the arbitrator for consideration. A third-party claimant whose claim is resolved by the arbitrator must execute and deliver a general release to the insured party whose claim is resolved by the proceeding.
(7) Upon adverse adjudication at trial or upon appeal, the authorized insurer shall be liable for damages, together with court costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by the plaintiff.
(8) Punitive damages may not be awarded under this section unless the acts giving rise to the violation occur with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice and these acts are:
(a) Willful, wanton, and malicious;
(b) In reckless disregard for the rights of any insured; or
(c) In reckless disregard for the rights of a beneficiary under a life insurance contract.

Any person who pursues a claim under this subsection shall post in advance the costs of discovery. Such costs shall be awarded to the authorized insurer if no punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff.

(9) This section does not authorize a class action suit against an authorized insurer or a civil action against the commission, the office, or the department or any of their employees, or to create a cause of action when an authorized health insurer refuses to pay a claim for reimbursement on the ground that the charge for a service was unreasonably high or that the service provided was not medically necessary.
(10) In the absence of expressed language to the contrary, this section shall not be construed to authorize a civil action or create a cause of action against an authorized insurer or its employees who, in good faith, release information about an insured or an insurance policy to a law enforcement agency in furtherance of an investigation of a criminal or fraudulent act relating to a motor vehicle theft or a motor vehicle insurance claim.
(11) The civil remedy specified in this section does not preempt any other remedy or cause of action provided for pursuant to any other statute or pursuant to the common law of this state. Any person may obtain a judgment under either the common-law remedy of bad faith or this statutory remedy, but is not entitled to a judgment under both remedies. This section does not create a common-law cause of action. The damages recoverable pursuant to this section shall include those damages which are a reasonably foreseeable result of a specified violation of this section by the authorized insurer and may include an award or judgment in an amount that exceeds the policy limits.
(12) A surety issuing a payment or performance bond on the construction or maintenance of a building or roadway project is not an insurer for purposes of subsection (1).
History.ss. 9, 809(1st), ch. 82-243; s. 78, ch. 83-216; s. 2, ch. 83-288; s. 2, ch. 86-262; s. 1, ch. 87-278; s. 1, ch. 88-166; s. 30, ch. 90-119; ss. 187, 188, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 176, ch. 97-102; s. 2, ch. 2003-148; s. 757, ch. 2003-261; s. 2, ch. 2005-218; s. 6, ch. 2019-108; s. 4, ch. 2020-63; s. 4, ch. 2023-15.
1Note.

A. Section 29, ch. 2023-15, provides that “[t]his act shall not be construed to impair any right under an insurance contract in effect on or before [March 24, 2023]. To the extent that this act affects a right under an insurance contract, this act applies to an insurance contract issued or renewed after [March 24, 2023].”

B. Section 30, ch. 2023-15, provides that “[e]xcept as otherwise expressly provided in this act, this act shall apply to causes of action filed after [March 24, 2023].”

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