April 8, 2024

Navigating Florida’s HB 837: Key Insights for Insurance Industry Professionals

As the winds of change sweep through Florida’s legal landscape with the implementation of HB 837, insurance professionals find themselves at a pivotal moment. This legislation has sparked numerous discussions and analysis, particularly regarding its impact on litigation. The implications are far-reaching, and deciphering the intricacies of this legislation is now more vital than ever. In this blog, I will explore some of the impacts of Florida’s new Tort Reform Law, shedding light on its effects on bad faith claims, offers of judgment, and more.   

Understanding Bad Faith Claims 

Bad faith claims have long been a contentious issue between plaintiffs and insurance carriers. The revised civil remedy statute now explicitly states that mere negligence is insufficient to constitute bad faith. This clarification aims to discourage unwarranted bad faith claims, potentially leading to more balanced interactions between parties involved in litigation. The practical implications of this new bad faith standard on litigation remain to be seen. 

Leveraging Offers of Judgment 

Offers of judgment, governed by §768.79 and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442, remain a valuable strategy for resolving disputes before they escalate into prolonged legal battles. These offers can trigger a fee-shifting mechanism, providing incentives for parties to consider reasonable settlement offers. While the concept may seem straightforward, its application can be nuanced. We encourage you to seek guidance from legal counsel to fully grasp the implications of effectively utilizing this tool. 

Practical Insights from Legal Practice  

In my own legal practice, I’ve witnessed firsthand how offers of judgment can influence pre-trial negotiations and facilitate favorable outcomes for clients. By understanding the potential consequences, both plaintiffs and defendants can make informed decisions that align with their best interests. 

HB 837: Extension and Implications 

HB 837 introduced §624.1552, extending the applicability of §768.79 to a broader range of civil actions involving insurance contracts. This extension offers additional flexibility in resolving disputes through pre-trial settlement negotiations. It’s important to note that these changes apply to insurance contracts issued or renewed after March 24, 2023, underscoring the significance of policy dates in navigating legal proceedings. 


In closing, as we navigate the terrain shaped by HB 837, I understand the importance of clarity and guidance for claims adjusters and insurance professionals like you. If you have any questions or concerns about how HB 837 may impact your current or future claims, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to provide insight and support tailored to your specific needs.  

Feel free to contact me, Nita Smith, directly with any inquiries or to schedule a consultation. I handle all aspects of liability cases for your insureds. I am open to discussing the above-mentioned aspects of HB 837 or others, such as the change in comparative negligence and how it impacts the admissibility of evidence at trial. 

Read more blog entries from our General Liability Team: https://www.kelleykronenberg.com/category/blog/general-liability-third-party-insurance-defense/  

Nita Smith, Esq.
Partner, General Liability & Third-Party Insurance Defense
Kelley Kronenberg-Tallahassee, FL.
(850) 577-1301