Thursday, August 6, 2009

Beware insurance companies...

Insurance companies recently dodged a major bullet. A very important issue is lingering with severe implications for insurance companies. The issue is: Whether an insurer in Florida is responsible for paying the expense of bringing a building into compliance with the Florida Building Code after a hurricane damaged it?
There was a very interesting article in today's Daily Business Review. QBE, an Australian insurance company, settled a lawsuit before a federal judge could rule on the above issue. In the case, QBE contends they are responsible for damages actually caused by the storm. Whereas, the plaintiff condo association claimed that QBE was responsible to bring the entire building up to code. This difference would have amounted to $4 million. In the case, the condo association had to replace all the sliding glass windows and doors in the 600 unit building in order to bring it into compliance with the current Florida Building Code. QBE countered that they were only responsible for a couple of windows that were blown out. I believe the Courts should defer to whatever the Florida Building Code requires. If the Building Code requires that the damaged building be brought up to code because the majority of the building was damaged, then insurance companies should be responsible for this.

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