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The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR

OPINION 67-26
October 20, 1967

In the course of negotiation with a liability insurance company, an attorney for the claimant may forward to the insured copies of correspondence addressed to the insurance company if there is no indication that an attorney has been retained to act for the insurance company and the insured.

Canon: 9

Chairman MacDonald stated the opinion of the committee:

A member of The Florida Bar inquires whether in negotiating a claim with a liability insurance company, where there is no indication that an attorney has yet been retained to act for the insurance company or for the interests for the individual insured, it is proper under Canon 9 to forward copies of correspondence addressed to the insurance company to the insured.

We see no objection per se to this practice so long as the stated assumption, i.e., the absence of counsel representing both the insurer and the insured, is correct. In other words, in context of the question we do not construe Canon 9 as precluding an attorney from contacting an individual even though the individual's interests might then be represented by an insurance company or a claims representative acting on its behalf. Naturally, the attorney should always be sensitive to the requirement of Canon 9 precluding advising or misleading a party not represented by counsel. Accordingly, any letter a copy of which is to be furnished to the insured must be framed in this light. Inasmuch as the inquiry does not outline the precise nature of the correspondence, it is not possible for us to apprehend in advance whether a particular letter would offend that portion of Canon 9.

[Revised: 08-24-2011]