Florida Senate - 2012                                    SB 1224
       By Senator Oelrich
       14-01130-12                                           20121224__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to civil remedies against insurers;
    3         amending s. 624.155, F.S.; requiring that before
    4         bringing a common-law bad faith action against an
    5         insurer, the party bringing the action must first
    6         provide to the Department of Financial Services and
    7         the insurer prior written notification of a specified
    8         number of days; requiring that a notice relating to
    9         the bringing of a common-law claim of bad faith must
   10         specify the common-law duty violated by the insurer;
   11         requiring a notice to specify the amount of moneys
   12         that an insurer has failed to tender or pay if the
   13         specific statutory or common-law-based violation
   14         includes such failure; providing that the
   15         circumstances giving rise to certain statutory or
   16         common-law-based violations are corrected by
   17         specifically described monetary tenders by an insurer;
   18         providing that either a third-party claimant or
   19         insured is entitled to a general release under certain
   20         circumstances; providing that the applicable statute
   21         of limitations is tolled for a specified period of
   22         time when certain notices alleging a common-law-based
   23         violation are mailed; revising provisions to conform
   24         to changes made by the act relating to statutory or
   25         common-law-based actions being brought against
   26         insurers; providing an effective date.
   28  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   30         Section 1. Subsections (3) and (8) of section 624.155,
   31  Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
   32         624.155 Civil remedy.—
   33         (3)(a) As a condition precedent to bringing an action
   34  either under this section or based on the common-law claim of
   35  bad faith, the department and the authorized insurer must have
   36  been given 60 days’ written notice of the violation. If the
   37  department returns a notice for lack of specificity, the 60-day
   38  time period shall not begin until a proper notice is filed.
   39         (a)(b) The notice shall be on a form provided by the
   40  department and shall state with specificity the following
   41  information, and such other information as the department may
   42  require:
   43         1. The statutory provision or common-law duty, including
   44  the specific language of the statute, if applicable, which the
   45  authorized insurer allegedly violated.
   46         2. The facts and circumstances giving rise to the violation
   47  and, if the violation includes failure to pay or tender moneys,
   48  the amount of such moneys.
   49         3. The name of any individual involved in the violation.
   50         4. Reference to specific policy language that is relevant
   51  to the violation, if any. If the person bringing the civil
   52  action is a third-party third party claimant, she or he shall
   53  not be required to reference the specific policy language if the
   54  authorized insurer has not provided a copy of the policy to the
   55  third-party third party claimant pursuant to written request.
   56         5. A statement that the notice is given in order to perfect
   57  the right to pursue the civil remedy authorized by this section
   58  or by the common law.
   59         (b)(c) Within 20 days after of receipt of the notice, the
   60  department may return any notice that does not provide the
   61  specific information required by this section, and the
   62  department shall indicate the specific deficiencies contained in
   63  the notice. A determination by the department to return a notice
   64  for lack of specificity shall be exempt from the requirements of
   65  chapter 120.
   66         (c)(d) No action shall lie if, within 60 days after filing
   67  notice, the damages are paid or the circumstances giving rise to
   68  the violation are corrected. If the alleged violation is based
   69  on this section or on the common-law claim of bad faith, the
   70  insurer’s tender of either the amount demanded in the notice or
   71  the applicable policy limits constitutes correction of the
   72  circumstances giving rise to the violation. In third-party
   73  liability claims:
   74         1. If the claimant files the notice, the insured is
   75  entitled to a general release from the claimant upon the
   76  insurer’s tender of the amount demanded in the notice or the
   77  applicable policy limits.
   78         2. If the insured files the notice and the claimant accepts
   79  the insurer’s tender, the insured is entitled to a general
   80  release from the claimant.
   81         (d)(e) The authorized insurer that is the recipient of a
   82  notice filed pursuant to this section shall report to the
   83  department on the disposition of the alleged violation.
   84         (e)(f) The applicable statute of limitations for an action
   85  under this section or based on the common-law claim of bad faith
   86  shall be tolled for a period of 65 days by the mailing of the
   87  notice required by this subsection or the mailing of a
   88  subsequent notice required by this subsection.
   89         (8) Except as provided in subsection (3), the civil remedy
   90  specified in this section does not preempt any other remedy or
   91  cause of action provided for pursuant to any other statute or
   92  pursuant to the common law of this state. Any person may obtain
   93  a judgment under either the common-law remedy of bad faith or
   94  this statutory remedy, but shall not be entitled to a judgment
   95  under both remedies. This section shall not be construed to
   96  create a common-law cause of action. The damages recoverable
   97  pursuant to this section shall include those damages which are a
   98  reasonably foreseeable result of a specified violation of this
   99  section by the authorized insurer and may include an award or
  100  judgment in an amount that exceeds the policy limits.
  101         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2012.