Florida Legislation Limits the Filing of Civil Remedy Notices During Appraisal
Oct 3, 2019
During the 2019 session, the Florida Legislature passed CS/CS/CS/HB 301. The bill provides that a civil remedy notice, a prerequisite to the filing of a statutory bad faith claim, may not be filed within 60 days after appraisal is invoked by either party in a residential property insurance case. It also repeals requirements that allow the Department of Financial Services (DFS) to return the civil remedy notice for insufficiency. The Governor signed the bill on June 18, 2019, and it has been codified as chapter 2019-108, Laws of Florida. The bill became effective July 1, 2019.
The bill provides that the civil remedy notice may not be filed within 60 days after appraisal is invoked by either party in a residential property insurance case. Under the prior law claimants were filing bad faith claims while the insurers and claimants were determining the amount of loss through appraisal. The bill provides a 60-day period during appraisal within which the claimant cannot file a civil remedy notice.
Section 624.155, Florida Statutes, requires a party bring a statutory bad faith action to give the DFS and the insurer 60 days’ written notice of the violation before filing the action in court. The notice must contain specific information set forth in statute, such as the statutory provision alleged to have been violated and the facts and circumstances giving rise to the violation. Prior to the bill taking effect on July 1, 2019, the DFS could return the notice within 20 days of receipt if the notice did not contain the required information. If the DFS returned the notice due to lack of specificity, the 60-day time period did not begin until a proper notice is filed. The bill repealed the provisions allowing the DFS to return the notice due to lack of specificity.
The bill does not explicitly address what happens if a plaintiff fails to comply with the notice provisions now that DFS no longer is responsible for returning the plaintiff notices, but the effect of the new law could be to strengthen defense of bad faith actions where the notices filed by plaintiffs under Section 624.155 fail to comply with the minimum statutory requirements.
About the Authors
Wes Strickland is a Shareholder at Colodny Fass and heads the firm’s Insurance Regulatory & Transactions Practice in Tallahassee, Florida. He can be reached at (850) 321-3475 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael Billmeier is a Partner in the firm’s Insurance Regulatory & Transactions Practice Group and its Governmental Consulting Practice Group. He can be reached at 850-701-3113 or email@example.com.