Extreme Emergency Fire & Water Restoration, LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s of London

By: Jennifer N. Myers

–So.3d–, 2020 WL 7379133 (Fla. 3d DCA 12/16/2020)

The insurance application contained an anti-assignment provision, the “Anti-Assignment Endorsement” prohibiting assignment of rights, benefits, and duties under the policy:

In consideration of the premium paid, it is hereby agreed and understood that rights, benefits and duties under the policy for which I am applying may not be assigned and/or transferred, either before or after a loss, without the written consent of the company, except in the case of death of an individual named insured.

When presented with a claim pursuant to an Assignment of Benefits agreement, Lloyds denied the claim and moved for Summary Judgment in the resulting litigation. Lloyds argued that “the parties voluntarily negotiated the anti-assignment agreement contained in the application,” thereby waiving the “right to freely assign their right to payment on their insurance claim.” While the trial court granted Lloyds’ Motion for Summary Judgment, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed, upholding long-standing Florida common law holding post-loss insurance benefits are freely assignable. The placement of the anti-assignment provision in the application as opposed to the policy itself was “merely a distinction without a difference. After all, it is the insurance application and the insurance policy which together constitute the insurance contract.”

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