Homeowners’ insurance policies universally include a provision that requires an insured to provide notice of loss on a reasonably prompt basis. This notice requirement often constitutes a condition precedent to payment of a claim. Insurance carriers frequently assert “late notice” as a basis for denying a claim and as a defense in breach of contract lawsuits. Policies typically do not establish a specific deadline or time-frame within which notice must be given to a carrier by an insured. This two-part blog post provides a review of a court decision analyzing when the “prompt notice” provision in a homeowners policy is triggered. In Part I of this blog, our Miami Hurricane Damage Lawyers provide an overview of the specific facts and circumstances of the case. Part II reviews the court’s analysis of when the notice provision commences based on the insured’s knowledge of events or damage to the property.
The 3rd DCA of Florida in the case of Laquer v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation ruled that notice is not necessarily late even when it is provided several years after exposure to the covered peril. The insured was the owner of a condominium unit that was rented to a tenant at the time of Hurricane Wilma. Although notice was not provided to the insurance company until three years after the hurricane, the appellate court rejected Citizens’ contention that it was entitled to summary judgment because notice provided after this period was late as a matter of law. Continue reading →