Rodriguez, an individual was killed while riding his motorcycle when he was struck
by a vehicle owned by Eduardo Olivera. The personal representative of
the decedent’s estate sued Olivera. The parties later entered a
Coblentz agreement, and Olivera agreed to entry of a $2.5 million judgment, in exchange
for an assignment of his rights to a claim against his insurance company,
Security National. Security National had refused coverage for the accident
because Olivera’s policy expired on December 6, 2008, nearly two
months prior to the accident. The plaintiff amended the complaint to include
claims against Security National, and alleged Security National was required
to place Olivera on notice that his policy was about to expire, and that
Security National failed to do so. The plaintiff argued that, as a result,
the policy remained in full force and effect at the time of the accident.
Security National asserted that it mailed notices to Olivera twice before
the policy expired, and once again after expiration of the policy. The
notices were all sent to the address listed on Olivera’s insurance
application and declaration sheets, which did not include an apartment
number. Security National moved for summary judgment, and prevailed.
The court found that even if Security National was statutorily required
to provide reasonable notice of payment due in advance of the due date,
Security National sent notices to Olivera prior to the policy lapse date.
The court found that Security National sent notices to the address which
Olivera put in the application, which lacked an apartment number, and
the same address, without an apartment number, appears on the declaration
pages. The court therefore ruled that Security National provided sufficient
proof of notice by mailing the renewal offers and notice of policy lapse
to the address provided by Olivera in his application, which was the same
address that later appeared in the policy and on the declaration pages.
As such, the court affirmed the summary judgment.
The court additionally noted that Security National argued that it was
not required to provide written notice of the policy lapse under Florida
law. The plaintiff asserted that notice was required under Florida Statute
627.728(1)(c) and (4)(a). The plaintiff argued that the phrase “when
due” in defining nonpayment of premium under section 627.728(1)(c)
means that nonpayment of a premium can occur only after the insurer has
provided notice of when the payment is due and the amount of the premium.
As such, the plaintiff argued that the failure to provide notice of payment
due negates the “nonpayment of premium” exception for the
notice requirement under section 627.728(4)(a). The court did not reach
this issue, however, because it found the insurer provided adequate notice.