Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 924
       By Senator Brandes
       24-00450C-20                                           2020924__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to civil actions against insurers;
    3         amending s. 624.155, F.S.; providing that, in third
    4         party bad faith actions against insurers, insureds and
    5         claimants have the burden to prove that an insurer
    6         acted in reckless disregard for insured rights which
    7         resulted in damage to the insured or the claimant;
    8         providing that insured or claimant actions or
    9         inactions are relevant in bad faith actions;
   10         specifying an affirmative defense; specifying an
   11         insurer’s duties to insureds; providing that an
   12         insurer is not liable if certain conditions are met;
   13         providing that an insurer is not liable beyond
   14         available policy limits as to certain competing third
   15         party claims if it files an interpleader action within
   16         a certain timeframe; providing construction; providing
   17         an effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Subsection (1) of section 624.155, Florida
   22  Statutes, is amended, and subsections (10) and (11) are added to
   23  that section, to read:
   24         624.155 Civil remedy.—
   25         (1) Any person may bring a civil action against an insurer
   26  when such person is damaged:
   27         (a) By a violation of any of the following provisions by
   28  the insurer:
   29         1. Section 626.9541(1)(i), (o), or (x);
   30         2. Section 626.9551;
   31         3. Section 626.9705;
   32         4. Section 626.9706;
   33         5. Section 626.9707; or
   34         6. Section 627.7283.
   35         (b) By the commission of any of the following acts by the
   36  insurer:
   37         1. Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when,
   38  under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so,
   39  had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due
   40  regard for her or his interests;
   41         2. Making claims payments to insureds or beneficiaries not
   42  accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under
   43  which payments are being made; or
   44         3. Except as to liability coverages, failing to promptly
   45  settle claims, when the obligation to settle a claim has become
   46  reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy
   47  coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions
   48  of the insurance policy coverage.
   50  Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) the provisions of the
   51  above to the contrary, a person pursuing a remedy under this
   52  section need not prove that such act was committed or performed
   53  with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice.
   54         (10)Notwithstanding subsections (1)-(9), in an action for
   55  third-party bad faith under this chapter or at common law:
   56         (a)An insured or a claimant has the burden to prove that
   57  the insurer acted in bad faith. An insured or a claimant must
   58  prove that the insurer acted in reckless disregard for the
   59  rights of any insured and that the reckless disregard caused
   60  damage to the insured or claimant.
   61         (b)The actions or inactions of the insured or claimant are
   62  relevant in an action for bad faith. It is an affirmative
   63  defense to a claim for bad faith that the insured’s or
   64  claimant’s own conduct, in whole or in part, caused an excess
   65  judgment.
   66         (c)An insurer must advise an insured of settlement
   67  opportunities, advise an insured as to the probable outcome of
   68  the litigation, warn an insured of the possibility of an excess
   69  judgment, advise an insured of steps to avoid an excess
   70  judgment, and defend an insured against a legal action when the
   71  complaint alleges facts that fairly and potentially bring the
   72  suit within policy coverage. An insurer is not liable if the
   73  insurer fulfills such obligations and the trier of fact finds
   74  that, within 45 days after receipt of the written notice of
   75  loss, the insurer stood ready and willing to settle for policy
   76  limits.
   77         (11)If two or more third-party claimants in a liability
   78  claim make competing claims arising out of a single occurrence
   79  which in total exceed the available policy limits of one or more
   80  of the insured parties who may be liable to the third-party
   81  claimants, an insurer is not liable beyond the available policy
   82  limits for failure to pay all or any portion of the available
   83  policy limits to one or more of the third-party claimants if,
   84  within 90 days after receiving notice of the competing claims in
   85  excess of the available policy limits, the insurer files an
   86  interpleader action under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
   87  The competing third-party claimants are entitled to a prorated
   88  share of the policy limits as determined by the trier of fact.
   89  An insurer’s interpleader action does not alter or amend the
   90  insurer’s obligation to defend its insured.
   91         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.