On our journey through the states, we now explore the “Granite State,” New Hampshire. One of the original thirteen colonies and known for its state motto, “Live Free or Die,” you should also know that New Hampshire has a complaint handling procedure applicable to insurance companies. Regulations for insurance company business can be found under the statute of “Unfair Methods, Acts and Practices,”1 which defines and establishes the actions by an insurer that will be considered as unfair claim settlement practices.
The State of New Hampshire provides specific claim settlement limits for insurance companies to comply with such as:
- Every insurer shall commence an investigation of any notice of a claim filed by an insured or claimant not later than 5 working days from receipt of the notice of a claim.2
- Insurer upon receipt of notice of a claim, shall acknowledge the receipt of such notice to the insured or claimant, within 10 working days by written correspondence, including facsimile or e-mail if acceptable to both parties or by telephone or face to face communication.3
- Within 30 days from the receipt of the notice of claim, the insurer shall make a complete decision regarding coverage, unless otherwise provided by law.4
- Unless otherwise provided by law or court order, every insurer shall pay all or part of the claim within 5 days from date of agreement with an insured or claimant or within 5 days from receipt from the insured or claimant, of documentation needed to process the claim for payment as requested by the insurer.5
If the insurer cannot comply within the time limit, the insurer shall send a delay letter within the 5 working days from the date of the agreement or receipt of requested documents.6 Then within 30 days after the delay letter was sent to the claimant, the insurer shall every 30 days thereafter, send a letter setting forth the specific reasons for the continued delays in the claim.7 The insurer must comply with all his obligations during this process and can only request a waiver from the insured for the 30-day delay letter, this waiver must be in writing and signed by the insured or claimant and then retained in the claim file . It is very important for insureds in New Hampshire to be aware of these time limits that trigger their rights to a fair handling of their insurance claims.
1 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05 (a)(1).
2 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05 (b)(1)(2).
3 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05 (c).
4 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05(d)(1)(2).
5 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05 (e).
6 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05 (f).
7 NH ADC Ins. 1002.05 (i).