"This case hinges upon seemingly age-old questions surrounding the proper contours of the agency relationship between an insured and a purported insurance broker -- questions for which our prior precedent provides useful guidance." Download Essex_Insurance_Co. v. Zota (Fla., Opinion Filed June 26, 2008 sc06-2031).pdf, at 1-2. This case involved a Surplus Lines Insurance Company. In it, the Florida Supreme Court examined various Statutes and concluded that they did not prevent the application of settled agency rules to the Surplus Lines Insurance Company and its Direct Surplus LInes Agent. Depending on the proof, application of settled rules of agency in that case could result in binding the Insured-Policyholder to a contract, even though the Policy documents were delivered to a Policyholder's alleged Broker and not directly to the Policyholder.
In a case of first impression and likely far-reaching precedential value, the Florida Supreme Court answered all questions in light of previous decisions "that this Court has previously applied in insurance-broker cases." Id. at 6. Florida Statutes regulating and restricting Surplus Lines Insurance Companies, such as Section 626.922, do not require a different vantage point, the Court wrote in answer to certified questions from the Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
In contrast, other Florida Statutes governing "delivery of policy" and "attorney's fees," Fla. Stat. §§ 627.421 and 627.428, respectively, apply to Surplus Lines Insurance Companies just as they apply to other Insurance Companies. Id. at 13. Neither Section 626.922 or Section 627.421 "has altered the common-law presumption that an insurance representative, serving as an independent insurance broker, acts on behalf of the insured for purposes of procuring insurance coverage." Id. at 14.
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