In these consolidated appeals appellant-plaintiff insurance company seeks review of an adverse final judgment entered in an action for declaratory relief and an award of attorney's fee therein. Appellant sought a declaration of its liability to appellee-defendant under an uninsured motorist provision of an automobile liability policy issued by it to appellee.
Appellee insured was involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured motorist while covered by two separate insurance policies, one issued by appellant and one issued by Midwest Mutual Insurance Company. Both policies contained arbitration clauses in the event of a dispute as to claimed damages or liability of the uninsured motorist.
Appellant, Traveler's, instituted this action to have its rights declared as against appellee's claim and requesting that appellee be enjoined from prosecuting his claim under the policy. As grounds therefor, appellant alleged that the appellee was estopped
The issue before us is the effect to be given to the first arbitration's determination of appellee's damages of $3,750.00, and whether appellee can attempt to gain a second, hopefully greater, determination of his damages under the second arbitration.
It has long been established in this state that a valid agreement to arbitrate the amount of damages between an insured and insurer, and a subsequent award based thereon is binding on the parties. Hanover Fire Ins. Co. v. Lewis, 28 Fla. 209, 10 So. 297; American Fidelity Fire Ins. Co. v. Richardson, Fla.App. 1966, 189 So.2d 486; Bohlmann v. Allstate Ins. Co., Fla.App. 1965, 171 So.2d 23. Moreover, such an agreement to arbitrate is governed by the provisions of the Florida Arbitration Code
In the case sub judice, appellee does not believe that the initial factual determination of his damages was correct or sufficient. He, thus, attempts to acquire a second determination of his damages under the arbitration clause of appellant's policy. The very essence of an arbitration is an agreement to be bound by the factual determination of the arbitrator and thus end the factual controversy. Bankers & Shippers Ins. Co. v. Gonzalez, Fla.App. 1970, 234 So.2d 693. Thus, appellee would not have been entitled to challenge the factual nature of the damage award after the first
The appellee has directed our attention to the following wording in the case of Sellers v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., Fla. 1966, 185 So.2d 689, 692, in support of his contention that he is entitled to pursue his claim against appellant:
Accord, Allstate Ins. Co. v. Dairyland Ins. Co., Fla. 1972, 271 So.2d 457. We find no support for appellee's position within these cases for they do not deal with the issue before us — whether the insured is entitled to a second arbitration to again determine his damages for the same accident. The quotation solely establishes the right of a claimant to seek a full satisfaction from one or more insurance carriers based on a finding of damages that may or may not be covered under one or more policy limits. It does not in any way establish the right of a claimant to seek a new determination of his damages arising from the same accident for each insurance policy that affords possible coverage. The issue of a pro-ration between the respective insurers is not the issue before us, as it was in the Sellers and Dairyland cases, supra.
Accordingly, the final judgment appealed from and the attorney's fee award entered therein is hereby reversed and remanded with directions for the trial court to enter judgment in favor of the appellant.
Reversed and remanded with directions.