60-DAY CLOCK FOR STATUTORY BAD FAITH “CURE PERIOD” STARTS WHEN CIVIL REMEDY NOTICE ELECTRONICALLY FILED

The Second District Court of Appeal in Harper v. Geico General Insurance Company, 44 Fla.L.Weekly D618c (Fla. 2d DCA 2019) explained that the 60-day clock for a statutory bad faith cure period STARTS when the civil remedy notice is electronically filed with Florida’s Department of Financial Services:

 

 

Subsection 624.155(3)(d) plainly states that no action shall lie if the damages are paid or corrective action is taken within sixty days after the insured files the CRN [Civil Remedy Notice]. Under current procedures, an insured files a CRN with the Department electronically. See Fla. Admin. Code R. 69J-123.002(1). And while the Department also requires the insured to print a copy of the completed CRN from the Department’s website and send it to the insurer, the Department nevertheless considers the form to be “filed” when the insured clicks the “submit” button at the end of the electronic form. See Civil Remedy Notice of Insurer Violations FAQ, https://apps.fldfs.com/CivilRemedy/Help.aspx (follow “Continue” hyperlink; then follow “How do I file a Civil Remedy Notice?” hyperlink) (last visited Dec. 20, 2018). At that time, the CRN is assigned a “filing number” and any changes must be made by clicking on “edit filing.” Hence, the requirements of section 624.155(3)(d) are met when the insured electronically files the CRN with the Department, and that action starts the sixty-day cure period for the insurer. Therefore, we hold that the sixty-day cure period under section 624.155 begins when the CRN is electronically filed with the Department, and to avoid a bad faith action, the insurer must pay the claim or take corrective action within sixty days from the date the CRN is electronically filed.

 

This is important because the insurer must fail to cure within this 60-day period to trigger the requirements of a statutory bad faith claim.  If the insurer fails to cure within this 60-day cure period, the insured has preserved an argument for a statutory bad faith claim.  See Harper, supra (“Therefore, because GEICO did not pay Harper’s claim within sixty days of the date the CRN was electronically filed with the Department, it did not pay the claim within the sixty-day cure period, and Harper was entitled to pursue her action for GEICO’s alleged bad faith.”).

 

Please contact David Adelstein at dadelstein@gmail.com or (954) 361-4720 if you have questions or would like more information regarding this article. You can follow David Adelstein on Twitter @DavidAdelstein1.