A Federal District Judge recently wrote that Florida's bad-faith statute, Section 624.155, provides a remedy to an insured who has a first-party bad faith claim:
Count I: Insurance Bad Faith
In Florida, an insured is authorized by statute to bring a first-party bad-faith claim against an insurer, when the insured is damaged by: (1) the insurer's failure to attempt “in good faith to settle claims when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so;” or (2) the insurer's violation of enumerated statutory provisions, including Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(i), which prohibits unfair claim settlement practices. See Fla. Stat. § 624.155(1)(a), (b).
Kapral v. GEICO Indemnity Co., No: 8:13-cv-2967-T-36EAJ, 2016 WL 7234147, at *3 (M.D. Fla. January 5, 2016).
There is so much wrong with this that I could spend all the time between now and Christmas writing about it.
A few words will avoid that fate. First, section 624.155 does indeed authorize "an insured" to bring a first-party bad faith claim against an insurer. At common law in Florida before this statute was enacted, an insured did not have a claim for first-party bad faith in Florida. That is the main reason that section 624.155 was enacted.
Second, section 624.155 provides a statutory cause of action to "any person damaged" (emphasis added) by an insurance carrier's alleged bad faith. The statute does not limit its availability to "an insured."
Third, in the above quotation and especially following the above quotation in its opinion, the Court in this case went on to cite and summarize Florida rules governing alleged third-party bad-faith-in-settlement. That is after all what the Kapral case was all about, namely, alleged bad faith by a liability carrier in failing settle an underlying claim within liability policy limits.
But none of that makes "third party" mean "first party," or "first party" mean "third party." As the warden said when the character Luke was shot to death in the movie "Cool Hand Luke":
What we have here is failure to communicate.
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