Florida Senate - 2020                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 924
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Banking and Insurance (Brandes) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 624.155, Florida
    6  Statutes, is amended, and subsection (10) is added to that
    7  section, to read:
    8         624.155 Civil remedy.—
    9         (1) Any person may bring a civil action against an insurer
   10  when such person is damaged:
   11         (a) By a violation of any of the following provisions by
   12  the insurer:
   13         1. Section 626.9541(1)(i), (o), or (x);
   14         2. Section 626.9551;
   15         3. Section 626.9705;
   16         4. Section 626.9706;
   17         5. Section 626.9707; or
   18         6. Section 627.7283.
   19         (b) By the commission of any of the following acts by the
   20  insurer:
   21         1. Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when,
   22  under the totality of all the circumstances, it could and should
   23  have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly toward its
   24  insured and with due regard for her or his interests;
   25         2. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not
   26  accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under
   27  which payments are being made; or
   28         3. Except as to liability coverages, failing to promptly
   29  settle claims, when the obligation to settle a claim has become
   30  reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy
   31  coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions
   32  of the insurance policy coverage.
   34  Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) the provisions of the
   35  above to the contrary, a person pursuing a remedy under this
   36  section need not prove that such act was committed or performed
   37  with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice.
   38         (10) The provisions of this subsection apply to an action
   39  against a motor vehicle insurer for third-party bad faith under
   40  this chapter or at common law.
   41         (a)It is a condition precedent to such action that the
   42  insurer first receive written notice that the insurer has
   43  violated its duty to act in good faith toward its insured. A
   44  notice shall state with specificity the alleged violation and
   45  the facts and circumstances giving rise to the violation. The
   46  insurer’s receipt of written notice does not preclude subsequent
   47  written notices that an insurer violated its duty to act in good
   48  faith toward its insured. The insurer shall save and document
   49  any notice.
   50         (b)In handling claims, an insurer stands as a fiduciary
   51  for its insured. Accordingly, an insurer shall act in good faith
   52  toward its insured throughout the entirety of the claim.
   53         (c) A bad faith failure to settle means an insurer’s
   54  failure to settle a claim when, under the totality of the
   55  circumstances, it could and should have done so had it acted
   56  fairly, honestly, and with due regard for the interests of an
   57  insured. The claimant has the burden to establish through the
   58  greater weight of the evidence that specific conduct by the
   59  insurer is the cause or substantial cause of the insurer’s bad
   60  faith failure to settle.
   61         1.An insurer’s negligent actions alone are insufficient to
   62  establish the insurer’s bad faith failure to settle, but an
   63  insurer’s negligent actions are relevant when considering the
   64  totality of the circumstances.
   65         2.The actions or inactions of the insured or claimant are
   66  relevant in an action for a bad faith failure to settle. An
   67  insurer may assert as a defense that the conduct of the insured
   68  or claimant caused, in whole or in part, the failure to settle
   69  the claim.
   70         (d)No action against a motor vehicle insurer for third
   71  party bad faith shall lie if, within 45 days after the motor
   72  vehicle insurer receives notice pursuant to paragraph (a), the
   73  insurer cures the circumstances giving rise to the alleged
   74  breach of duty of good faith to the insured. A third party may
   75  proceed with a bad faith action against the insurer if the
   76  insurer fails to cure the violation within this period.
   77         (e)Paragraph (d) does not create a duty that the insurer
   78  must offer policy limits or the amount of a demand that is less
   79  than policy limits within 45 days after it receives notice under
   80  paragraph (a). However, the absence of such offer may be
   81  considered as part of the totality of the circumstances in
   82  determining whether the insurer in bad faith failed to settle.
   83         (f) If two or more third-party claimants in a liability
   84  claim make competing claims arising out of a single occurrence
   85  which in total exceed the available policy limits of one or more
   86  of the insured parties who may be liable to third party
   87  claimants, a motor vehicle insurer is not liable beyond the
   88  available policy limits for failure to pay all or any portion of
   89  the available policy limits to one or more of the third-party
   90  claimants if such insurer continues to comply with its good
   91  faith duties to its insured throughout the entirety of the
   92  claim, including the pendency of an interpleader action filed
   93  under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure within 90 days after
   94  receiving notice of the competing claims in excess of the
   95  available policy limits. The competing third-party claimants are
   96  entitled to a prorated share of the policy limits as determined
   97  by the trier of fact.
   98         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.
  100  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  101  And the title is amended as follows:
  102         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  103  and insert:
  104                        A bill to be entitled                      
  105         An act relating to civil actions against insurers;
  106         amending s. 624.155, F.S.; providing applicability;
  107         requiring that a civil remedy notice be provided to a
  108         motor vehicle insurer before a third-party bad faith
  109         action is brought against the insurer; specifying
  110         requirements for the notice; providing construction
  111         relating to the notice; requiring the insurer to save
  112         and document any notice; providing construction
  113         relating to an insurer’s duty of good faith, a bad
  114         faith failure to settle, the claimant’s burden of
  115         proof, negligent actions of an insurer, and actions or
  116         inactions of the insured or claimant; providing that
  117         such bad faith actions are barred if the insurer cures
  118         certain circumstances within a certain timeframe;
  119         providing that an insurer is not liable beyond policy
  120         limits in certain third-party claims if it meets
  121         certain conditions; providing that competing third
  122         party claimants are entitled to a prorated share of
  123         policy limits as determined by the trier of fact;
  124         providing an effective date.