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 Hurricane Michael Delayed Insurance Claim Victims Should Send Parts of Their Homes and Businesses To Their Insurers In Protest

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 Does the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Impose a Broad Duty on Insurers to Act “Reasonably” or “Properly” in Handling Claims?

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 Prohibited Insurer Conduct and Unfair Acts Expressed Through California Case Law – Another Quick Guide to Holding an Insurer Accountable

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 Insurance Company’s Golden Rule: Treat Every Claim As If It Were Your Own

Our Northern California office is battling the big insurers for their conduct in response the 2017 NorCal Wildfires, and recently some of our clients received letters purporting to be a “friendly reminder” from their insurance company. Well, they were actually not so friendly. Instead, they are kind of a punch to the gut.
Continue Reading An Example of Why Policyholders Need Favorable and Strong Bad Faith Laws

In my last blog post, I wrote about the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent decision in Windridge of Naperville Condominium Association v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company.1
Continue Reading Does An Insurer Act In “Bad Faith” If It Denies Coverage For A Hail Loss Based On Its Retained Engineer Defining Hail Damage As Functional Damage?

We recently were presented with a case involving a property insurance claim in Wyoming. The policyholder was upset, and his public adjuster had a long list of improper actions by the insurance company. Merlin Law Group attorney Jonathan Bukowski wrote a short article about this in, Wyoming Denied or Delayed Property Damage Claims.

Continue Reading Wyoming Bad Faith Remedies For Delayed and Wrongfully Denied Property Insurance Claims

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 Emotional Distress Damages Allowed in Hawaii For Insurance Bad Faith Conduct

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 Insurance Company Act in Bad Faith? Can It Be Punished? What Policyholders Need To Know About California Bad Faith Law

If your home was burglarized, would you sit back and do nothing? No. You would likely call the police or law enforcement to report the burglary, and hope they find your stolen property. If the police arrested the person who stole your property, would you let that person off without punishment, accountability, and repayment for your stolen property? Hopefully not – you would hold them accountable because they violated the law, and took something that belonged to you – they deprived you of your property that you worked hard to earn and purchase.

So why wouldn’t you hold the insurance company, adjusters, or other insurance personnel accountable if they violate the law? Maybe you didn’t know that you could, but you can, which is why its incredibly important to know your rights under the Texas Insurance Code.
Continue Reading Texas Hail Claims – Know Your Rights Under Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code