Insurer’s Confession Of Judgment Through Post-Lawsuit Payment

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In this case, an insured suffered water damage from a pipe leak.

June 25, 2019
David Adelstein - Florida Construction Legal Updates

The recent opinion in the property insurance coverage dispute, Bryant v. Geovera Specialty Ins. Co., 44 Fla.L.Weekly D1232a (Fla. 4thDCA 2019), discusses the doctrine known as an insurer’s “confession of judgment.” In this case, an insured suffered water damage from a pipe leak. The insurer paid the insured $6,000 because of sublimits in the property insurance policy. There was a $5,000 sublimit for mold and a $1,000 sublimit for water leakage that occurs over a period of 14 days or more. The insured sued the insurer for covered water damage arguing that the sublimits did not apply.

After the lawsuit was filed, an agreed order was entered that stayed the case pending an appraisal. The appraisal award did not apply the $1,000 sublimit to the water damage from the pipe leak and segregated out damage for mold. (The insurer already paid the mold sublimit). The insurer ended up paying the appraisal award for the water damage caused by the pipe leak after deducting its pre-lawsuit sublimit payment. The insurer paid the award and did NOT challenge the application of the $1,000 sublimit in court, although it could have since coverage issues are decided by courts.

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