INSURANCE-RELATED COURT CASES
Digested from case reports published online
Insurer loses arbitration appeal
Raymond Erb appealed a final order compelling arbitration with his insurer pursuant to an arbitration clause contained in the insurance contract. He alleged that the trial court erred by enforcing the arbitration provision, despite the insurer failing to timely demand arbitration within the time specified by contract.
The agreement provides that “[t]he request for arbitration must be filed within one (1) year of the date of loss or damage.” Chubb conceded that it did not request arbitration within one year of the underlying accident. Chubb also argued, however, that the agreement provides that “[a]ny controversy or claim … arising out of or related to this policy … shall be referred to and settled by arbitration.” The agreement does not expressly allow any form of dispute resolution other than arbitration, so Chubb’s failure to comply with the time limitation had no impact on arbitrability.
The trial court’s interpretation failed to harmonize the two sentences of the same contractual provision. The court stated that the better reading, indeed, the only reading that gives effect to both relevant portions, requires arbitration of any conflict between the parties, but only if invoked by the insurer within one year from the date of loss. Accordingly, based on the failure to invoke arbitration within such time as required by contract, the trial court erred in compelling arbitration.
The trial court’s decision was reversed.
Erb v. Chubb National Insurance Company—Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County—December 14, 2022—No. 3D20-1694.