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Insured’s Failure to Comply with Conditions Precedent Relieve Homeowners’ Insurer of its Duty to Pay

July 15, 2011

Edwards v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company, 64 So. 3d 730 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).


A policyholder, whose home sustained damage from Hurricane Frances on September 4, 2004, made an initial claim with his insurer for an amount below his hurricane deductible. The insurer made no payment on the initial claim. After the policyholder made a supplemental claim almost four years after the initial claim, the insurer made repeated requests for documentation of his claimed loss. The insurer also made numerous requests for the policyholder to submit to an examination under oath. The policyholder ignored the insurer’s requests and, instead, sued the insurer for breach of contract. The trial court granted summary judgment for the insurer. The policyholder appealed.


The homeowners’ insurance policy, in this case, required the policyholder to comply with two conditions precedent to payment: (1) submission of documentation reflecting the amount of loss claimed and (2) submission to an examination under oath. The Third District Court of Appeal concluded that the policyholder had failed to comply with either condition. The court noted that the policyholder’s arguments based on substantial compliance were without merit because they required unjustified inferences from the record. Thus, the Third District held that the insurer was entitled to summary judgment in its favor. 

Appellate Counsel: Elizabeth K. Russo of Russo Appellate Firm, P.A., Miami; and Anthony J. Russo of Butler Pappas Weihmuller Katz Craig, LLP, Tampa, for State Farm Florida Insurance Company.