It is a simple fact that many insurance companies have a financial incentive to slow-pay claims or deny them. When an insurer employs this or related tactics to keep from justly paying claims, it is called a bad-faith action. Holding such firms accountable is the work of attorneys.
Unfortunately, such situations are not rare. It is a simple financial calculation for many bad faith insurers to determine the net return gained by delaying, contesting, or simply not paying a valid claim. As just one example, the Reno – Everest Indemnity Insurance Co. was ordered to pay a $4.5 million fine in 2015 for failing to honor its commitments to a Nevada builder. The insurer avoided paying an even larger punitive fine by settling after the initial verdict.
Experienced bad faith attorneys understand the standards insurance companies are expected to meet. When the company shows bad faith, the attorney can take action to require proper remedies. There is an abundance of cases where such an approach was required, including but not limited to:
- A $2 million award to a boy who was originally denied coverage under a $100,000 insurance limit
- $33.65 million awarded to covered policy holders after the insurance company denied a $10 million earthquake claim in San Francisco.
- A payment of $3.9 million to parents who had been told they could only claim $10,000 on a $300,000 coverage limit for the death of their child in an auto accident
- An award of $26.5 million to a business owner who was originally denied on an environmental damage claim. Further, the insurer originally denied the policy and inundated the insured with unreasonable demands for records and information.
As these and many other verdicts indicate, it often takes attorneys to wrest a fair settlement for bad faith insurers. Simply involving the right attorney is often the key to getting reasonable action from a recalcitrant or bad faith insurance company who uses tactics such as:
- Failing to provide pertinent information
- Denying coverage or claiming coverage below policy limits
- Attempting to intimidate or harass the claimant
- Refusing to explain the reason behind a denial or the reasons for ongoing delays
- Failing to enter into reasonable negotiations for settlement
Such insurers understand the risks of going to trial and will often respond to knowledgeable attorneys after ignoring policy holders.