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Court of Appeal of Florida, First District
April 20, 2010, Opinion Filed
CASE NO. 1D09-1707
[*95] VAN NORTWICK, J.
Florida Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company appeals a final judgment entered in favor of Willis F. Mathis and Katherine W. Mathis which awards them the full policy limits of their Florida Farm homeowners policy. Florida Farm argues that the Mathises were impermissibly allowed a double recovery for their loss because previously they had been paid policy limits under their separate flood insurance policy. In response, the Mathises assert they introduced evidence, which the jury accepted, that the wind damage, a covered peril under their homeowners policy, caused a total loss or constructive total loss of their home, so that under Florida's Valued Policy Law (VPL), section 627.702(1), Florida Statutes (2004), 1 they were entitled to recover their policy limits under the homeowners policy. For [**2] the reasons that follow, we affirm.
The Mathises owned a two-story home in Navarre Beach when Hurricane Ivan struck in September 2004, causing substantial wind and flood damage to their home. The home was insured with a flood insurance policy with policy limits of $ 250,000, issued pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Program and administered by Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company. The Mathises also insured the home with a Florida Farm homeowners policy with policy limits of $ 295,600, which covered windstorm damage among other perils. The homeowners policy excluded water damage due to "[f]lood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind." Loss due to water damage was excluded "regardless of any other cause or event contributing [**3] concurrently or in any sequence to the loss."
After the hurricane, the Mathises received a letter from Santa Rosa County advising them that the damages to their home exceeded fifty percent of its value. As a result of this determination, the Mathises were required to apply for permits to repair and rebuild the home and new construction or repairs were required to be completed in accordance with current building code requirements. The elevation of the Mathises' home, built in 1995, did not meet current code requirements. Because of the expense to rebuild the home pursuant to current codes and because the existing structure was deemed unsafe, the Mathises were left with no other choice but to demolish the home.
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33 So. 3d 94 *; 2010 Fla. App. LEXIS 5231 **; 35 Fla. L. Weekly D 868
FLORIDA FARM BUREAU CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant, v. WILLIS F. MATHIS and KATHERINE W. MATHIS, Appellees.
Subsequent History: Released for Publication May 6, 2010.
Prior History: [**1] An appeal from the Circuit Court for Santa Rosa County. Gary Bergosh, Judge.
Mathis v. Fla. Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co., 2009 Fla. Cir. LEXIS 1500 (Fla. 1st Cir. Ct., July 20, 2009)Fla. Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. v. Mathis, 978 So. 2d 856, 2008 Fla. App. LEXIS 5085 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1st Dist., Apr. 7, 2008)
total loss, wind, damages, repair, policy limit, homeowner's policy, flood, insured, covered peril, flood insurance, flood damage, setoff, feet
Insurance Law, Coverage, Real Property, Loss Calculation, Civil Procedure, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Affirmative Defenses, Setoffs, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, General Overview