• Florida Court Finds Consent Order Issued to Insurer is Permissable Evidence to Prove Insured Did Not Make Misrepresentation on Application
  • February 10, 2014 | Author: George B. Hall
  • Law Firm: Phelps Dunbar LLP - New Orleans Office
  • A Florida appellate court recently held that a consent order from the Florida Department of Financial Services regarding an insurer's actions was permissible evidence by an insured to prove that the insured did not make a misrepresentation on his application for coverage. People's Trust Ins. Co. v. Roddy, No. 2013 WL 6081811 (Fla. 4th DCA Nov. 20, 2013).

    An insurer denied a claim for damage to the insured's home on the basis that the insured materially misrepresented on his application that his home had a burglar alarm system in place when it did not. There was no written application because the insured applied for coverage by telephone. Following the denial, the insured sued the insurer, and testified at trial that he did not represent that his home had a burglar alarm. The insurer's representative testified that the burglar alarm discount was selected on the insured's application and that the insurer's normal procedure was to ask questions of the insured and check the appropriate boxes on the application based on the insured's responses. As rebuttal, the insured introduced evidence of a consent order issued to the insurer from the Department of Financial Services due to the insurer giving quotes based on every available discount even if the applicant did not claim to be eligible for such discounts. The jury found in favor of the insured, and the insurer appealed.

    The appellate court affirmed, finding that the consent order was relevant evidence as to whether the insured had made a misrepresentation on his application. Because the insurer had introduced evidence of its usual business practice, the insured was entitled to present evidence of a contrary business practice. Thus, the appellate court held that the trial court correctly ruled that the evidence of the insurer's consent order was permissible and not unduly prejudicial.