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.
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Bad faith cases really should be named “lack of good faith” cases because the duty is on the insurance company to act in the utmost of good faith and fair dealing with the policyholder. “Bad” has nothing to do with it. Alabama, however, carries the “bad faith” definition one step further by delineating a cause of action for “abnormal bad faith.”
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Minnesota Statute section 604.18, commonly known as Minnesota’s Bad Faith Law, permits an insured to add a claim to recover taxable costs based on an insurance company’s bad faith denial of policy benefits. The procedure for bringing a claim under section 604.18 differs from most states. Generally, an insured is strictly prohibited from including a claim for bad faith in its initial pleading. Rather, the insured must seek leave to amend the complaint, supported with affidavits, showing the factual basis for the motion. The insurer may then submit evidence to show there is no factual basis for the motion. Section 604.18 requires that the moving party (the insured) establish, by prima facie evidence, that the nonmoving party (the insurer) is liable under the statute. If the court finds such prima facie evidence, it may grant the insured leave to amend their pleading.
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Reporter Steve Andrews ran a televised story highlighting that some Florida legislators are listening to insurance company lawyers and lobbyists rather than taking care of their constituents in Consumers Would Take Hit If Insurance Lobby Gets Its Way, and Change in Insurance Law Would Take Away Consumers’ Day in Court. The story references Florida House Bill 751 filed by Representative Alex Andrade. Senate Bill 1464 filed by Senator Jeff Brandes from St. Petersburg is just as bad. It is obviously written by insurance company lawyers and lobbyists wanting to make it more difficult for policyholders to bring actions holding delaying, denying, and underpaying insurance companies accountable.
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The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Tennessee recently ruled and reaffirmed that a Tennessee policyholder is not limited to the statutory extracontractual remedy for an insurer’s bad faith refusal to pay on a policy. She may also be awarded punitive damages under common law. And, further, the Tennessee legislative cap on punitive damages is an “unconstitutional invasion of the right to trial by jury under the Tennessee Constitution.”
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I often get calls from potential clients that have filed a claim with their insurance and have been enraged by an insurance agent or adjuster assigned on the claim. Many potential clients say something like “I just wanted to get the claim settled but the adjuster was acting in bad faith and just wouldn’t listen.” Most states have some case law or consumer protection laws that apply to an insurance company, but not all apply to the insurance personnel you deal with. The Supreme Court of Washington will soon decide this issue for members of the Evergreen State.
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Rep. Jackie Toledo

The Insurance Journal published an article last week, Sometimes I Disagree with the Blogs I Love. The article had a lengthy discussion of this blog. I really like how it started:

Property Insurance Coverage Law – Chip Merlin and team do a great job helping me to understand what’s going on in property insurance law around the country. Everyone that writes here is super sharp and helps me to understand the legal changes and challenges around the country.
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Florida legislators have introduced legislation allowing insurance companies to delay, deny, and underpay Floridians’ insurance claims without accountability. National Flood insurance has no such good faith standards nor accountability and the above news story shows how Floridians can be expected to be treated if the Florida legislature passes anti-consumer laws eliminating protections that have been in place since 1982 for people and businesses hurt by insurers that fail to act in good faith.
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Merlin The Moose is a client favorite at the Chicago Merlin Law Group office. We won him at a charity auction last year. He also led me to some creative research uncovering a problem with market conduct studies and the transparency of property insurance claims procedures many insurers keep hidden from their customers and insurance regulators.
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