Louisiana federal courts have been split on the issue regarding the applicable prescriptive period (statute of limitation) for first-party insureds’ bad faith claims against their insurers. Recently, the Louisiana Supreme Court granted review of Smith v. Citadel Insurance Company, to definitively rule on the primary legal issue presented: “the proper prescriptive period applicable to a first-party bad faith claim against an insurer.”1
Continue Reading

Policyholders who have delayed and underpaid insurance claims from Hurricane Michael may think about taking a page from the “how to file a complaint” playbook from an Old Mutual policyholder who sent the dead body to the claims department to collect on a funeral insurance policy.
Continue Reading

The United States District Court for the District of Minnesota in Selective Insurance Company of South Carolina v. Sela,1 recently addressed whether the implied covenant of good faith includes a broader obligation to act “reasonably” and “properly” in making a decision about whether to pay benefits. Sela had submitted a claim for hail damage to his home. Selective investigated the claim and filed suit alleging that Sela made fraudulent misrepresentations and was not entitled to coverage. Sela counterclaimed for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and bad faith, pursuant to Minn. Stat. §604.18.
Continue Reading

In California, a carrier’s bad faith liability includes conduct beyond what is set out in the Insurance Code (statutory) and the Fair Claims Settlement Practices Act regulations. Bad faith conduct is also expressed through case law. Some of this additional bad faith conduct is summarized below. Effectively communicating an insurer’s bad faith conduct is essential to resolving insurance disputes. When you see bad faith conduct, a best practice is to bring the conduct to the carrier’s attention and explain why such conduct is prohibited.
Continue Reading

When an insurance company issues a policy, it is promising to adjust claims with the same care and diligence it would use if it were their own claim.1 Florida provides that insurers owe “a duty to their insureds to refrain from acting solely on the basis of their own interest in settlement.”2 In essence, the insurance company owe a duty to its insureds to abide by the golden rule; do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Continue Reading

Merlin 2019 Transpac Team at Waikiki Yacht Club

Hawaii is paradise. The Aloha State deserves its reputation as exotic, fun loving, and a place to reflect about life—as you can tell from the picture above with my friend following the finish of the 2019 Transpac Race. So, it is fitting that insurers who wrongfully breach the peace of mind which insurance is supposed to protect are subject to emotional distress damages in Hawaii.
Continue Reading

Insurance policyholders who are considering suing their insurance companies for bad faith need to consider many pros and cons, including the potential for financial compensation. California juries can allocate the money they award policyholders to several categories, such as unpaid policy benefits, attorney fees, and punitive damages. This post addresses punitive damages and looks at three key issues that came up in a recent decision from California’s Second Appellate District.1 Keep in mind, there are many other factors to consider, and there is no substitute for a consultation with an experienced insurance law attorney.
Continue Reading