The Legislature should support House Bill 813 to help stop abusive bad-faith litigation caused by trial lawyers gaming the system. This costs Floridians millions each year in higher insurance premiums.
Existing law already requires an insurer to be given notice of a claim and an opportunity to cure any deficiency in its claims handling before it can be sued for statutory first-party bad faith.
HB 813 merely makes this a condition for all types of bad-faith actions.
HB 813 further provides that a case for bad faith cannot be established if the insurer promptly offers to pay the lesser of (a) what the party is willing to accept or (b) its maximum policy limits. In other words, if the insurer acts in good faith, it can’t be sued for bad faith.
With HB 813, consumers will maintain all of their current rights to file legitimate bad-faith claims against insurers that act unfairly by not fulfilling their duties under the policy or law.
While preserving consumer rights, the bill would prevent opportunistic plaintiff lawyers from setting up insurance companies for manufactured bad-faith claims.
Many of these attorneys and their lobbyists are fighting HB 813 because it would shut down their unscrupulous tactics.
Examples include not reporting the accident or claim, ignoring all communications from an insurance company, refusing to discuss settlement offers and making outlandish demands.
Several trial lawyers, along with their lobbyists, have been muddying the waters in the media with misinformation about the true consumer impact of this bill. Clearly, the only thing they are interested in protecting is their wallets.
Brandon Carroll, bodily injury/uninsured motorist manager, United Automobile Insurance Co., Miami Gardens