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Florida Third DCA rules that plaintiff homeowners' claim against their insurer for breach of contract not precluded by "supplemental claims" provision of policy

On September 20, 2017, in Milhomme v. Tower Hill Signature Insurance Company, No. 3D16-2089, the Florida Third DCA reversed a circuit court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendant insurance company in a case involving a dispute between the homeowners and the insurer over the repair costs for a water damaged home. The homeowners had filed a breach of contract lawsuit after the insurer declined to readjust its estimate. The insurer successfully moved for summary judgment by alleging that a provision of the policy which allowed the homeowners to submit “supplemental claims” for damages discovered in the covered reconstruction and repair effectively meant that a disagreement between the insurer and homeowners over the insurer’s estimate could not constitute an alleged breach of the policy unless the homeowners submitted a supplemental claim for the difference (which had not occurred). The Third DCA rejected this reasoning, holding that the adjusted loss amount claimed by the plaintiffs was not a “supplemental claim,” or one for “damages discovered in the covered reconstruction and repair” of the property. It was a claim that addressed the original casualty event and the amounts contended to be necessary to repair and restore the direct physical loss to the covered property. The Third DCA distinguished Slayton v. Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Co., 103 So. 3d 934 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012).

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