A Florida appellate court held that an insured who assigned “any and all” rights under a policy to a water mitigation company only assigned their rights relating to the water mitigation work performed. Sidiq v. Tower Hill Select Ins. Co., 276 So.3d 822 (Fla. 4th DCA 2019).
The insureds owned a dwelling that was damaged by a water leak, which allegedly caused interior water damage. The insureds retained a company to perform water mitigation services in exchange for payment under an assignment of benefits (the “AOB Contract”), which assigned “any and all” insurance rights and benefits to the water mitigation company. The insurer denied the claim, and the insureds sought a declaratory judgment determining their rights under the policy. Thereafter, the water mitigation company settled with the insurer and executed a release of all claims against the insurer. The insurer moved for summary judgment arguing that the insured did not have standing, as they had assigned all their rights and benefits to the water mitigation company and that the services rendered were in consideration of all of the insureds’ rights under the policy. The insureds argued that the AOB Contract was intended to assign only their rights in relation to the water mitigation services performed to the company, and that the contract limited the company’s rights to the services performed. The trial court granted the insurer’s motion, finding that consideration is a necessary element of an enforceable contract, that the consideration does not affect the scope, and that the assignment was for all the insureds’ rights in the claim. The insureds appealed.
The appellate court reversed. While the trial court had only focused on specific language of the AOB Contract, the appellate court focused on the language of the contract as a whole, and opined that it clearly limited the assignment of benefits to just the rights relating to the water mitigation services. Accordingly, it held that while the first sentence of the AOB Contract appeared to assign the company “any and all” rights under the insureds’ policy, when taken as a whole, the contract limited the rights to any rights that related directly to the water mitigation work performed to the insureds’ property.