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Appellate Court Upholds Trade Secret Claim for QUASR Data

Appellate Court Upholds Trade Secret Claim for QUASR Data

Florida’s First District Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling in favor of State Farm Florida Insurance Company in its claim that its QUASR data submissions constitute trade secrets.  The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation collects information from insurers about where they are writing policies (or may be reducing policies).  The information is collected through the Quarterly and Supplemental Reporting System, commonly known as QUASR.  Historically, this information has been publicly available and can be viewed at the statewide level or at the county level.

The Florida Insurance Code allows an insurer to claim that information it provides to the OIR constitutes a trade secret if the information allows the insurer to maintain an economic advantage over others who do not know it, and if the insurer takes steps to maintain the confidentiality of the information.  State Farm Florida began to submit its QUASR information to the OIR under a claim of trade secret.  When the insurer and the OIR did not agree on the viability of this claim, the case was heard by a Leon County circuit judge, who ruled in favor of State Farm Florida.

The OIR appealed the circuit court ruling to the First District Court of Appeal.  The appellate court upheld the lower court ruling, finding that the insurer presented sufficient evidence, including expert evidence, to support the trial court’s determination that State Farm Florida met its burden on the trade secret claim.  The First District wrote, “The trial court’s findings are supported by competent, substantial evidence, and so our job is to affirm.”