Bad Faith Entering Election Debate in Florida

by Matthew Glans on September 23, 2010

In the past several years, however, states have begun considering legislation to expand the definition of bad faith and create new ways to sue for claim denials, including some wrongful denials that don’t involve bad faith. New bad faith legislation has been proposed in several states, including Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Pennsylvania.

In Florida, both candidates for governor have begun speaking about insurance reform, including bad faith insurance reform, as part of their campaign speeches. Including bad faith reform in the dialogue of the gubernatorial races is important, since the proposed laws in Florida could have a strong effect on Florida’s insurance market.

According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, these laws would “create new or expansive private causes of action, lower existing viable and fair standards that need to be met in order to file an action, and allow for recovery of additional penalties, including damages multipliers, punitive damages and one-way attorneys’ fees.”

Proponents of these laws, mostly groups supported by trial lawyers, say the new laws will “level the playing field” for consumers. Critics argue the new policies would weaken filing and recovery standards and cause an influx of new lawsuits, both frivolous and otherwise, claiming bad faith on the part of insurers even when such behavior did not occur.

Insurance is a key issue in Florida and Floridians need to know where the candidates stand on important insurance issues like bad faith.

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