The California Court of Appeal recently issued an opinion confirming the standard for determining an insurer’s bad faith conduct is whether the insurer acted unreasonably, not whether the insurer refused to pay a reasonable claim. I recently blogged about the California standards for proving bad faith.1 About a week after that blog post, lawyers for Pacific Specialty Insurance Company asked a Los Angeles judge to enter summary judgment against a Merlin client’s bad faith claims because bad faith was supposedly an intentional tort (i.e., the insured needed to prove intent to harm). Not surprisingly, the judge ruled in our client’s favor and rejected this argument. As noted in the blog post, bad faith only requires proof the insurer acted “unreasonably.” About a week later, California’s Second Appellate District Court confirmed in a separate case that bad faith only requires evidence of “unreasonable” conduct.2 Sorry, Pacific Specialty.
Continue Reading California Appellate Court Confirms the Standard for Bad Faith is Whether the Insurer Acted “Reasonably”

Lexington’s insurance company President & CEO is Lou Levinson. He must really have a big ego because what he allows his company to promise regarding claims practices has nothing to do with what is delivered. I invite him and his claims vice president to show up at a claims townhall meeting anywhere in the five largest states to listen to what their customers have to go through. They can invite whomever they want, and we will invite who we want.
Continue Reading Lexington Slow-Pays Claims and Ignores Policyholders

Most California authorities say that the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing” obligates the insurer to investigate, process, and evaluate the insured’s claim promptly, thoroughly, and fairly.1 The seminal case describes bad faith as insurer conduct that impairs the insured’s right to receive the benefits for which they contracted.2 My favorite line from case law describes bad faith as an “imprecise label for what is essentially some kind of unreasonable insurer conduct[.]”3
Continue Reading Did the Insurance Company Commit Bad Faith?

Massachusetts has adopted a version of the model Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act and recognizes a cause of action for bad faith against a first-party insurer.1 Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 93A § 9 establishes a statutory cause of action for any person who has been injured by another person’s use or employment of any method, act, or practice declared to be unlawful by Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 176D § 3(9), a violation of which may give rise to civil liability under 93A § 9.2 While each state generally has their own specific bad faith statute outlining what constitutes a “unfair” or “deceptive” act by an insurer, Massachusetts law includes conduct typically found throughout the country.
Continue Reading Bad Faith Conduct and Foreseeable Damages in Massachusetts

Insurance is your safety net. It is a contract made between you and your insurance company guaranteeing that, if anything were to happen to you, the agreed safety net will be provided. Insurance companies have a right to investigate the legitimacy of claims. However, insurance companies in Texas cannot reject legitimate claims, misrepresent policy terms, or engage in other specific “bad acts.”
Continue Reading Understanding Your Rights Under Chapter 542 of the Texas Insurance Code: Why it is Beneficial to Allow an Attorney to Assist You in the Process

Arizona has a strong interest in ensuring its residents are made whole for injuries sustained while in Arizona. Bryant v. Silverman, 146 Ariz. 41, 47, 703 P.2d 1190, 1196 (1985). Toward that end, it allows for injured plaintiffs to recover all damages caused by a tortfeasor, including economic and emotional damages. Rawlings v. Apodaca, 151 Ariz. 149, 161, 726 P.2d 565, 577 (1986).
Continue Reading Is Expert Testimony Required For a Jury To Award Emotional and Mental Distress Damages In Arizona?

Existing Arizona law allows recovery of emotional distress and mental anguish damages in cases of property damage. The Arizona Court of Appeals has already ruled in at least two different cases that when a person sustains loss to property, that person may recover emotional distress damages even if the tortfeasor did not intentionally cause the distress, and even though the distress is not severe. Farr v. Transamerica Occidental Life Ins. Co., 145 Ariz. 1, 7, 699 P.2d 376, 382 (App. 1984).
Continue Reading Recovering Emotional and Mental Distress Damages Caused By Property Loss In Arizona

Picture this. You have retained counsel to assist in enforcing your claim under your insurance policy. After a favorable appraisal, and payment of that award by the insurer, you receive a notice of nonrenewal stating that the insurer is electing not to renew the policy as “the risk no longer complies with underwriting guidelines.”
Continue Reading Policyholders’ Potential Bad Faith Claim for a Retaliatory Nonrenewal

Like the 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands allows policyholders to recover through multiple avenues, in the event of an insurance company’s refusal to pay a valid claim. Similarly, the USVI also allows a policyholder to bring a bad faith claim in addition to a breach of contract claim.
Continue Reading Insurance Bad Faith in the Virgin Islands: How To Properly Plead Insurance Claims Misconduct in The Virgin Islands