We are approaching hurricane season in Florida and with recent natural disasters firmly fixed in mind, this case may give some reassurance to homeowners — as long as your carriers do not “go FIGA.”
In Florida Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Co. v. Willis and Katherine Mathis (First DCA: Van Nortwick, Lewis and Rowe), Hurricane Ivan in 2004 caused damage to the Mathis’ home. Flood water rose over four feet. The Mathis family had flood and wind policies. The flood carrier paid limits. The windstorm carrier declined to give policy limits. A suit and trial ensued with a jury finding a constructive or actual total loss warranting policy limits. The carrier appealed, claiming they were entitled to set off the flood payment.
There is potentially a lot in this case for insurance coverage lawyers. The bottom line, however, is that the First DCA held that the policies were separate and that the Florida Valued Policy Law (Florida Statute 627.702(1)) did not require set offs. Thus, the Mathis were to receive $250k (flood) and $295k (wind) on their two story house which had an estimated value between $400-500,000. Thus, and pardon the pun a homeowner can collect under two separate policies even if there is a “windfall.”