In Family Security Insurance Co. v. Stein, No. 4D22-1468 (Fla. 4th DCA Feb. 8, 2023), Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal confirmed that, in a coverage action where the issue of coverage is in dispute, an insurer’s claim file and claim investigation materials are protected by the work product privilege.Litigation
Family Security was a breach of contract action filed by two homeowners seeking homeowners insurance coverage for damage to their home.
The insurer denied coverage and contested damages. In discovery, the homeowners moved to compel the insurer to produce its field adjuster’s loss report, nonfinal estimate, and supporting documentation. The trial court granted the homeowners’ motion, requiring the insurer to produce these documents.
The insurer then filed a petition for certiorari with the Fourth District Court of Appeal seeking to quash the trial court’s discovery order on the grounds that the materials the insurer was required to produce were protected by the work product privilege. The Fourth District granted the petition.
The Fourth District explained that it ‘has consistently held that an insurer’s claim file constitutes work product and is protected from discovery prior to a determination of coverage.’ Additionally, ‘[m]aterials generated during an insurer’s investigation of a claim are generally considered work product.’