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QBE Insurance Corporation Sued For More Than $500 Million For Bad Faith Claims Handling Practices

MIAMI, Nov. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- A Miami condominium association has sued its insurer, QBE Insurance Corporation, and its Florida general managing agent, for more than $500 million in damages, claiming bad faith and deception in handling hurricane claims.

Daniel S. Rosenbaum, the managing partner of Katzman Garfinkel Rosenbaum, LLP, in West Palm Beach, obtained a judgment against QBE from a Federal Court jury trial in February, 2009 for approximately $25 million, plus another $1.75 million being awarded in attorneys' fees, for Buckley Towers Condominium in Miami.

Rosenbaum has now filed another lawsuit in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. This second  lawsuit is against QBE and its managing general agent, Florida Intracoastal Underwriters Limited Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Brown and Brown, Inc. (NYSE: BRO). The new lawsuit accuses both companies of engaging in deceptive and fraudulent bad faith claims handling practices as a general business practice, and having a specific intent to injure Buckley Towers while it sought insurance coverage to repair the heavily damaged buildings.

Earlier this year, the Miami-Dade County Unsafe Structures Board condemned as unsafe the two 17-story towers, located at 1321 N.E. Miami Gardens Drive.  The buildings were ordered to be demolished in late 2010 unless they are repaired, which cannot be done without the insurance money awarded to Buckley Towers.  Buckley Towers has 564 units, which are home to more than 1,200 residents.

"QBE, as a business decision, decided to let the buildings be condemned and physically torn down, and the residents forced out of their homes," the lawsuit states. "These condemnation proceedings would have been avoided had QBE fairly and honestly adjusted the claim."  The lawsuit alleges that QBE, in concert with Florida Intracoastal Underwriters, intentionally delays and fails to settle valid claims because it can "take advantage of the socioeconomic conditions of residents," the lawsuit states, "and the inability of residents to raise the money to make the repairs."

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