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

Shawnee Tabernacle Church (“Shawnee”) is a Congregation located in Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The church was insured by GuideOne Insurance (“GuideOne) with a policy that included the following language under the title “Pennsylvania Changes”:

Notice of Acceptance or Denial of Claim

Except as provided in 3 below, we will give you notice, within 15 working days after we receive a properly executed Proof of Loss that we:

A.) Accept your claim.

B.) Deny your claim; or

C.) Need more time to determine whether claim should be accepted or denied.

1) If we deny your claim such notice will be in writing and we will state any policy provision, condition or exclusion used as a basis of denial. If we need more time to determine whether your claim should be accepted or denied, the written notice will state the reason why more time is required.

2.) If we have not completed our investigation, we will notify you again, in writing, within 30 days after the initial notice as provided in i.e., above and thereafter every 45 days. The written notice will state why more time is needed to investigate your claim and when you may expect us to reach a decision on your claim.

3.) The notice procedures in 1 and 2 above do not apply if we have a reasonable basis, supported by specific information, to suspect that an insured has fraudulently caused or contributed to the loss by arson or other illegal activity; under such circumstances, we will notify you of the disposition of your claim within a period of time reasonable to allow full investigation of your claim, after we receive a properly executed Proof of Loss.


Continue Reading Pennsylvania Bad Faith Archives: Shawnee Tabernacle Church v. GuideOne Insurance

In 2007, a law became effective in Maryland that, for the first time, permitted insureds to sue their insurers for failing to act in good faith in settling their first party claims under a property insurance policy. The cause of action, which is found in Maryland Code § 3-1701, applies in actions to determine whether coverage exists under the relevant insurance policy, and also in actions to determine the extent to which the insured is entitled to receive payment from the insurer for a covered loss.
Continue Reading Insurance Bad Faith in Maryland: Part 1

Insurance companies owe their insureds a duty to fully and fairly investigate a property loss, which includes a comprehensive inspection to identify all damages associated to the claim. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters will sometimes utilize an “any port in the storm” style reason to deny a claim; the adjuster cannot point to a specific tangible basis for denial, instead relying on a hypothetical justification. In that situation, the adjuster’s denial stands in paradox to the insurer’s duty to investigate a claim.
Continue Reading Claim Denial Reason: Did the Insurance Company Show Their Work?

This blog follows on the previous post, Insurance Bad Faith South Carolina: Part 3.

South Carolina allows “Bad Faith” lawsuits involving first party insurance claims. “Bad faith” claims handling is really a misnomer. Lawsuits involving insurance companies paying late and not enough money should be called Lack Of Good Faith lawsuits. “Bad faith” only heightens the standard and seems to imply an immoral or fraudulent standard:

In law, there are inconsistent definitions of bad faith, with one definition much more broad than used in other fields of study discussed in the above sections. Black’s Law Dictionary equates fraud with bad faith. But one goes to jail for fraud, and not necessarily for bad faith. The Duhaime online law dictionary similarly defines bad faith broadly as ‘intent to deceive’, and ‘a person who intentionally tries to deceive or mislead another in order to gain some advantage’.1
Continue Reading Insurance Bad Faith in South Carolina: Part 4 – Beware the Statute of Limitations

This blog follows up the previous post, Insurance Bad Faith in South Carolina: Part 2.

As explained in Part 2, there are several types of damages available to an insured for a first-party property insurance bad faith claim in South Carolina. Part 2 covered the availability of attorney’s fees in bad faith actions. This blog will cover other damages available, namely consequential and punitive damages.
Continue Reading Insurance Bad Faith in South Carolina: Part 3

In a previous post, I discussed whether an insured can file a Civil Remedy Notice before coverage and liability are established and discussed Florida’s three requirements for bringing a bad-faith claim.1 In this post, I will go back to a fundamental question the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified to the Florida Supreme Court years ago. Under section 624.155(1)(b)(1), can an insured’s bad-faith claim accrue before the conclusion of the underlying litigation?2 The Florida Supreme Court answered in the negative.3
Continue Reading Should an insured bring an action for bad-faith at the same time as the breach-of-contract action?

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued an opinion in late July that significantly addresses Minnesota Statute § 604.18, commonly known as Minnesota’s “Bad Faith Law.” While arising in the context of an automobile accident, the case of Peterson v. Western National Mutual Insurance Company,1 is still applicable to property insurance claims as § 604.18 applies to both automobile and property insurance claims.
Continue Reading A Fair Investigation Means Considering and Weighing All Facts and Circumstances

Back in June 2018, I blogged about the New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act passing the Senate and heading to the Assembly. Unfortunately, many roadblocks (insurance company lobbyists) prevented the Bill from going forward by using propaganda to spread lies about the detrimental effect of passing it. For the foreseeable future, New Jersey will continue to be one of the most difficult states in the country to prove bad faith given their court’s “fairly debatable” standard.1
Continue Reading New York’s Bad Faith Bill Advances Through Assembly Insurance Committee