Attempt to Overrule Trial Court's Order to Produce Underwriting Manual Fails

Failure in ripped paper

The insured argued that some scope-of-inspection-related information in the underwriting manual could be relevant to contesting the insurer's affirmative defense.

April 25, 2022
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

After being ordered by the trial court to produce its underwriting manual, the insurer's writ of certiorari to quash the order was denied by the Florida Court of Appeals. People's Trust Ins. Co. v. Foster, 2022 Fla. App. LEXIS 542 (Fla. Ct. App. Jan. 26, 2022).

The insured sued after his claim for damage caused by a water pipe in his home that leaked. In discovery, the insurer refused to produce its underwriting manual. Ruling on a motion to compel, the trial court ordered that the manual be produced. The insurer appealed.

On appeal, the insurer argued its underwriting manual was categorically prohibited in breach of contract cases until and unless bad faith litigation commenced. Although courts had quashed the premature discovery of insurers' business practices, claims files, underwriting files, underwriting manuals, and the like in breach of contract actions, there was no categorical legal rule prohibiting discovery of underwriting manuals in breach of contract cases, especially if they were relevant.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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