In Diaz-Hernandez v. State Farm Casualty Insurance Company, ____ So.2d ____ (May 27, 2009), the court was asked to resolve the following issue:
We must decide whether the provision in State Farm’s UM policy, which requires the Insured to file suit against the known uninsured motorist and State Farm, is against the public policy of the UM statute, section 627.727, Florida Statutes (2007), and therefore, void.
In a rather straightforward opinion, the court held that:
the provision in the UM policy, requiring the Insured to join the uninsured motorist in the lawsuit filed against the UM carrier, State Farm, is against public policy, we reverse the order dismissing the Insured’s second amended complaint with prejudice, and remand for further proceedings.
In its reasoning, the court noted that the State Farm policy imposed an "additional burden" on the Insured that was not required by the UM Statute. This additional burden on the Insured required that the policy term by deemed invalid.
This decision in in line with case law in Florida which holds that a UM insurer cannot require its insured to pursue an uninsured motorist to a judgment or settlement prior to proceeding against its insurer. See, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Reyer, 362 So.2d 390 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1978). See also, Metro. Cas. Ins. Co. v. Tepper, 2 So.3d 209 (Fla. 2009).
A copy of the Diaz-Hernandez can be downloaded by clicking here