Florida law currently has strong protections for its insurance customers and businesses. An insurance customer can sue their own insurance company when the insurance company fails to honor the fiduciary duties that every insurance company owes to its customers.
After all, when you have a claim brought against you, your insurance company takes over and controls the defense of that claim.
The company has an obligation to defend claims against you as if it were the company’s money on the line. When an insurance company fails to settle a claim brought against one of its insured customers, when it could have and should have, had it been acting in due regard for the interests of that customer, it is said to be acting “in bad faith.” If that bad faith causes damages, like a judgment for more than the policy limits, the insurance company can be responsible for paying that entire amount, over and above the amount of the policy limits.
Often times, insurance companies know that it is not their own money at stake when they refuse to pay a valid claim, or force an injured claimant to file a lawsuit to get a claim paid. Insurance companies have a lot more money and resources than the people making claims, and use delaying tactics or deny claims to force people who have been injured through no fault of their own into lower settlement amounts. This means that insurance customers who thought they would be protected if they ever caused an accident find that they are not protected, and end up being sued, with the threat of a judgment against them.
It also means that when an insurance customer purchases first-party coverage, like Uninsured Motorist Liability Coverage, they find they have to file suit to get the contractual benefits they have paid for.
This type of conduct is considered insurance bad faith. Insurance consumers in Florida benefit from strong laws that do not put the interests of the insurance company over their own, and which provide for recourse when an insurance company commits bad faith.
Harmon, Woods, Parker & Abrunzo, P.A. has a lot of experience with cases where insurance companies have committed insurance bad faith, or failed to honor their fiduciary duties. The firm is also knowledgeable and experienced in obtaining settlements and payments for amounts greater than the policy limits in cases that involve issues of insurance bad faith.