TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ENTERING FINAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF INSURER

TRIAL COURT ERRED IN ENTERING FINAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF INSURER ON THE GROUND THAT INSURER DID NOT TIMELY SEND THE CIVIL REMEDY NOTICES REQUIRED BY STATUTE--RECORD INDISPUTEDLY SHOWED THAT THE INSURER HAD RECEIVED THE CIVIL REMEDY NOTICE NEARLY FOUR YEARS BEFORE THE BAD FAITH SUIT WAS FILED, AND HAD RESPONDED TO IT WITHOUT CHALLENGING ITS SERVICE.

Evergreen Lakes HOA v. Lloyd’s Underwriters at London, 42 Fla. L. Weekly D2226 (Fla. 4th DCA October 18, 2017):

A condition precedent to an insured filing a bad faith lawsuit against the insured’s own insurance company requires the department and the authorized insured be given sixty days’ written notice of the violation pursuant to section 624.155(3)(a). As of 2006, when the statute at issue was in effect, the statute did not contain any guidance as to how the insurer had to be given the civil remedy notice (email? certified mail? etc.). The statute did clarify that the CRN is meant to serve as an opportunity for the insurer to cure the alleged violation and avoid litigation.

In this case, there was no dispute that both insurers were “given” a copy of the CRN which was on a form provided by the Department of Financial Services more than sixty days before plaintiff filed its bad faith suit. This gave the insurer almost four years to cure the alleged violation before it was sued for bad faith.

While the insurer acknowledged that fact, it still argued that summary judgment was appropriate because of the plaintiff’s mailing error, and argued that it did not have the benefit of the full sixty-day cure period.

However, the court found that the insurance company waived compliance with any such requirement by responding to the CRN within sixty days of the acceptance date without challenging its timely receipt. Thus, the trial court erred in granting the insurance company’s motion for summary judgment based on lack of proper notice.

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