Carlton Fields

An insured filed suit in a Florida district court for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the defendant-carriers’ handling of claims made under the insured’s disability insurance policies. During discovery, the insured requested documents concerning the carriers’ general claims handling practices, as well as copies of any coinsurance or reinsurance agreements that the carriers entered into with respect to the insured’s insurance policies. The carriers refused to produce this material, and the insured filed a motion to compel.

The district court ruled at the outset that the insured was not entitled to discovery of the carriers’ general claims handling practices. Relying on D’Aprile v. Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, No. 2:09-cv-00270 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 25, 2010), the court held that the carriers were required to produce only their “rules, guidelines, protocols, standards, and criteria, published or internal, which were utilized in whole or in part, or which relate to” the insured’s claims. With respect to coinsurance and reinsurance agreements, the insured argued that his request was permissible insofar as it related to assets available to satisfy a possible judgment. But the court rejected the argument, agreeing with the carriers that the insured failed to show how these requests were at all relevant to his breach of contract and/or breach of fiduciary claims. The request for coinsurance and/or reinsurance material was denied accordingly.

Allen v. First Unum Life Insurance Co., No. 2:18-cv-00069 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 30, 2020).