Often times when dealing with an insurance dispute an insurer will rely upon an exclusion within the insurance policy to deny coverage. In this instance, it is imperative to verify whether the insurance policy is a renewal or a non-renewal.
This is important because if the insurance loss in dispute was covered under the previous policy, but is not covered under the current version (i.e. the renewal), then the policy holder (insured) may be entitled to coverage if the insurer failed to comply with certain notice provisions of Florida Statute 627.4133.
Additionally, Florida case law establishes that when a renewal provides less coverage than the policy it replaces, it is not a renewal at all. Rather this policy is deemed a non-renewal and therefore the insurance company must provide the statutorily required notice. See United States Fire Ins. Co. V. Southern Security Life Ins. Co., 710 So.2d 130 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998). The failure to provide notice and meet the notice requirements under Florida Statute 627.4133 may entitle the policy holder (insured) to the coverage under the previous policy’s terms.
The above issues are not only important when litigating Florida personal injury cases or insurance claims, but may also have a significant impact on future bad faith cause of action. Therefore each policy and the insurance companies’ production of the right disclosures should be scrutinized.