Legitimizing Bad Faith – Big Insurance Duping the Public with Scare Tactics

The Insurance industry is trying to scare the public, once again, in order to make bigger profits at the expense of Florida Citizens.  Currently, Florida recognizes a cause of action against insurance companies when the company does not abide by their duty to protect the insured under the language of the policy.  For years the insurance industry has made billions of dollars by denying, delaying and defending meritorious claims.  They will first deny the claim persistently in hopes that the insured will give up on their claim.  Then the insurance company will delay the claim in hopes that the insured will tire of the negotiations and accept pennies on the dollar.  If that doesn’t work, they will defend the claim and force the insured into lengthy and costly litigation in order that they may hold on to the money they owe and collect interest for as long as possible.

One tool an attorney has to fight against the insurance company’s abuse of the system is the leverage of bad faith litigation against the insurance company for not abiding by their fiduciary duty to the insured under the policy.  The insurance company is trying to take away this righteous tool by once again scaring the public with the threat of higher insurance rates and tales of frivolous cases that should be thwarted through tort reform.  This is a falsity in an attempt to increase the profits of Florida’s insurance industry at the expense of Florida citizens.

In order to properly explain the process, I will go through a hypothetical scenario.


Bob entered into a contract of auto insurance with BF Insurance Company in which he paid premiums for 7 years.  Within the contract of insurance, he paid BF to cover him for up to $100,000 if he was injured in an auto accident, which was caused by someone who did not have the proper coverage (known as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or UM coverage).  Unfortunately, in the seventh year of coverage, Bob was in an accident caused by an uninsured drunk driver.  As a result of the accident, Bob was airlifted from the scene and his spinal column was severed at the C4-C5 level rendering him paralyzed from the neck down for the rest of his life.  After the accident, Bob hires to pursue a claim for his injuries.  Because the drunk driver was uninsured, Parrish & Goodman Law Firm sends a request to BF insurance company to pay the policy limits of the UM policy that Bob had with BF Insurance.  Of course, it is common sense that $100,000 dollars would not come close to covering the tragic costs of Bob’s accident, but as is customary with BF insurance company, they deny and delay the claim and do not timely submit payment of the policy limits to Bob.  Parrish & Goodman Law Firm serves a Civil Remedies Notice with the proper Florida governmental entity claiming that BF has not properly abided by their fiduciary duty to Bob and then takes the case to trial.  Bob is awarded a $13 million dollar verdict due to the horrific turn his life has taken.  As the law stands today, Bob can now sue BF Insurance for dealing in bad faith and not settling the claim for policy limits whey they should and could have settled. 

Today, lobbyists for the insurance industry have convinced Senator Thrasher to propose Bill 0624, which guts the current laws allowing for this type of bad faith litigation (you can see the proposed bill here).  If such a bill was passed, there would be no motivation for an insurance company to ever pay policy limits to a citizen insured in Florida.  That means you could pay your premiums up to a policy limit for many years and then when you need the insurance company to abide by the contract of insurance, there will be no negative ramifications for the insurance company to always deny, delay and short-change the insured.  This country was founded with the amazing ability of checks and balances for our citizens.  We, as citizens, cannot allow the insurance industry to use its influential political dollars to further trample on those they are supposed to protect without any checks and balances.  What can we do?  Call your senator and let them know you oppose the bill and if nothing else let your community know that they should not vote for the legislation if it makes the ballot.