In Oklahoma, we’ve been keeping a close eye on State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and its claims handling practices, as it seems something within State Farm has changed, making litigation against it more frequent. This graphic depicting the trajectory of insurance-related lawsuits involving State Farm in federal courts throughout the country is telling:1
On May 14, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas entered a Judgment in favor of a plaintiff policyholder against the defendant insurance company, New Hampshire Insurance Company (“New Hampshire”), in the amount of $300,000.00.1 The course leading to this Judgment is interesting, as the Judgment did not result from a jury trial or a bench trial. Instead, the Judgment resulted from New Hampshire’s voluntary offer to confess judgment in the amount of $300,000.00. This followed a multi-year litigation, during which time New Hampshire denied all liability on the policyholder’s claims of breach of contract and failure to act in good faith and with fair dealing. It is not surprising New Hampshire continued to deny all liability to the bitter end, even in its offer to confess judgment; however, the fact it offered to pay the plaintiff $300,000.00 is telling, as it had previously offered to pay $0.00.
Continue Reading Judgment Entered Against New Hampshire Insurance Company
In the world of first-party insurance claims and litigation, we hear and use the term “bad faith” nearly every day. The term regularly arises when contractors, public adjusters, and attorneys are attempting to resolve a first party insurance claim pre-suit. Then, if litigation is necessary, bad faith often becomes a distinct claim made on behalf of policyholders. Because “bad faith” is a distinct claim in litigation, though, the term is inherently adversarial and, pre-suit, it carries an accusatory tone. It also carries different meanings based upon the state in which the claim arises, and in some states, proving an insurer’s bad faith through litigation is incredibly difficult as it may require proof of intentional dishonesty or oppressive conduct by the insurer.1…
Continue Reading How Shifting Language Away from “Bad Faith” and Towards “Good Faith” Could Benefit Policyholders
A new bill is making its way through the Oklahoma legislative process that could impact policyholders and the roofing industry in Oklahoma. On March 3, by a vote of 77 to 11, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed House Bill 1940, which would prohibit roofing contractors from waiving or paying any part of an insured’s deductible when the funds for repairing or replacing a roof come from an insurance company as a result of a property damage claim. The current form of the Bill was authored by Representative Kyle Hilbert and Senator James Leewright, and the Bill currently states:…
Continue Reading Oklahoma Bill Seeks to Prohibit Roofing Contractors from Covering Insureds’ Deductibles
In Oklahoma, insurance companies have an incentive to timely investigate and resolve claims submitted by insureds. Part of this incentive exists through a fee-shifting statute,1 where insureds can recover attorneys’ fees and costs if they are the prevailing party at trial. I recently wrote about an Oklahoma Supreme Court decision relating to recovery of fees and costs, Insured Oklahomans Have a Confirmed Right to Make Their Insurance Company Pay Their Attorneys Fees and Costs for Wrongfully Denied Claims.
Continue Reading Recovery of Interest for Wrongfully Denied or Underpaid Claims in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Legislature has created an incentive for insurance companies to timely investigate claims submitted by insureds and resolve those claims. This incentive comes in the form of a statute,1 which explicitly gives an insured the right to recover the costs and fees paid to his or her attorneys when the insured prevails at a trial (or, in other words, when the jury agrees the insurance company should have paid a claim). The money for these fees and costs is paid by the insurance company. This is huge for policyholders because attorneys’ fees and litigation costs can reach thousands of dollars—sometimes hundreds of thousands.
Continue Reading Insured Oklahomans Have a Confirmed Right to Make the Insurance Company Pay Their Attorneys Fees and Costs for Wrongfully Denied Claims