Florida Insurance Commissioner McCarty Praises Court’s Decision Prohibiting the Use of Mandatory Arbitration in Life Insurance Contracts
– Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty welcomed the First District Court of Appeal’s decision
affirming the Office of Insurance Regulation’s (Office) denial of United Insurance Company of America’s (United) request to include a mandatory arbitration clause in its life insurance contracts.
Arbitration would have forced disgruntled policyholders to bypass the legal system to settle disagreements. United appealed the Office’s action and the Court affirmed the denial.
“Policyholders have fewer rights and constitutional protections under the more restrictive arbitration process than they would have in a civil court proceeding,” said Commissioner McCarty. “I’m pleased that the Court made it clear that Florida consumers should not be shut out of the traditional legal system to press their grievances against insurance companies.”
Although United argued that federal arbitration law superseded the Florida law that allows policyholders to use the courts for contractual disputes; the Court found that this matter “specifically relates to the business of insurance” and is, therefore, exempt from being superseded by federal law.