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Gold Coast Property Management, Inc. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

June 14, 2019

GOLD COAST PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CERTAIN UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S LONDON, et al., Defendants,

          ORDER

          DARRIN P. GAYLES, UNITED STATES DISTTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay the Proceedings [ECF No. 11] and Plaintiff's Motion to Remand [ECF No. 30]. The Court has carefully considered the Motions and the record and is otherwise fully advised. For the following reasons, the Motion to Compel Arbitration is granted and the Motion to Remand is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         The primary issue in this action is whether Plaintiff Gold Coast Property Management Inc. (“Plaintiff”) may be compelled to arbitrate its insurance coverage dispute under the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (the “New York Convention”).

         I. Applying for Coverage

         On November 28, 2016, USI Insurance Services, Inc. (“USI”), Plaintiff's insurance agent, tendered a submission for placement of Plaintiff's property insurance to AmRisc, LLC (“AmRisc”), an insurance administrator. USI had dealt with AmRisc for other clients in the past and was aware that AmRisc utilized the AR Compass 0115 Form, which contained the arbitration provision at issue in this action. Pursuant to USI's submission, AmRisc provided eight successive quotes to USI for Plaintiff's property insurance. In the body of each quote, AmRisc noted that [a]ll coverages are as per the standard forms and endorsement in use by AmRisc, LLC at the time of binding, unless otherwise noted.” [ECF No. 42, Ex. A, ¶ 12].

         On February 24, 2017, USI requested that coverage be bound per the terms of the last quote. Included in the request were a commercial insurance application (the “Application”), an AmRisc property application and statement of values, a disclosure notice of terrorism insurance coverage, a flood notice, and a surplus lines disclosure and acknowledgment (the “Surplus Lines Disclosure”), all signed by Plaintiff's manager, William M. Murray. [ECF No. 42-1, at 97-99, 101-102].[1] Based on the signed Application and other documentation, a Commercial Compass Form Policy (the “Policy”) was bound by AmRisc on February 24, 2017, on behalf of the Insurers.[2] The Policy was insured by eight insurance companies under eight separate policy numbers, with each insurance company both receiving premiums from Plaintiff and covering Plaintiff in various percentages for various risks. The insurers were: Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's London (“Underwriters”), Indian Harbor Insurance Company, General Security Indemnity Company of Arizona, United Specialty Insurance Company, Lexington Insurance Company, Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Company, International Insurance Company of Hannover SE (collectively the “Defendants”), and QBE Specialty Insurance Company.[3]

         II. The Policy Provisions

         The Policy contains the following arbitration provision:

SECTION VII - CONDITIONS
C. Arbitration Clause: All matters in difference between the Insured and the Companies (hereinafter referred to as “the parties”) in relation to this insurance, including its formation and validity, and whether arising during or after the period of this insurance, shall be referred to an Arbitration Tribunal in the manner hereinafter set out.

Policy, at 26, [ECF No. 42-1].

         In addition, the Policy contains a Service of Suit Clause endorsement which provides in pertinent part:

Service of Suit Clause (U.S.A.) NMA 1998 4/24/86 (USA date)
It is agreed that in the event of the failure of the Underwriters hereon to pay any amount claimed to be due hereunder, the Underwriters hereon, at the request of the Insured (or Reinsured), will submit to the jurisdiction of a Court of competent jurisdiction within the United States. Nothing in this Clause constitutes or should be understood to constitute a waiver of Underwriters' rights to commence an action in any Court of competent jurisdiction in the United States, to remove an action to a United States District ...

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