CS/HB 813: Civil Remedies Against Insurers
Posted By Todd Miner Law || Jan 30, 2014
“Civil Remedies Against Insurers; Requires insureds, claimants, or persons acting on their behalf to provide insurer with written notice of loss as condition precedent to statutory or common-law action for bad-faith failure to settle insurance claim; provides that insurer is not liable for claim of bad faith failure to settle claim if certain conditions are met.”
Narrowly passing with a 7–6 vote in the Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee, this bill would protect insurance companies from what are known as “bad faith” lawsuits. Characterized by the idea that insurance companies are not acting in the interest of the insured, a bad-faith lawsuit could be filed if, during a personal injury case, the jury finds for the victim that they should be awarded a dollar amount above that of the defendant’s insurance policy maximum. Either the plaintiff or the defendant could file the bad-faith lawsuit in an attempt to force the insurance company to pay the additional damages.
Sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a republican from Naples, House Bill 813 would protect insurance companies with a 45-day window of opportunity to settle a claim at the policy maximum or below. If they do so within this allotted time frame, they would be immune from paying further damages on the claim.
Although large business-advocacy groups such as the National Federation of Independent Business and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are lobbying for the bill, others are not so sure. If sued for a workplace injury, for instance, small business owners who have kept up with their insurance premiums in good faith could still face bankruptcy and be obliged to lay off good employees for lack of finances, should a workers’ compensation lawsuit not be met with adequate settlement by the insurance company itself.
How Todd Miner Law Can Help You
Todd Miner and his team are watching this issue closely. We have a proud history of advocating for the individual in the face of monolithic entities such as insurance companies. Imagine a worker who incurs a life-altering on-the-job injury, and then receives an insurance settlement far below their long-term needs, simply because the employer’s insurance policy maximum was met within the proposed 45-day window.
In this hypothetical situation, such a worker would be forced to resort to taxpayer-supported care for the rest of his life. We need to be protecting good, hardworking, taxpaying individuals and their families, rather than simply the big insurance companies.