Good Faith Claims Handling

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.
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Crawford has acknowledged that the insurance industry it serves is not living up to its good faith claims obligation in a recent publication. Here is the confession about the 2017 Hurricane season which it reported in Today’s Large & Complex Claims Landscape: Preparing for the Perfect Storm:

To adequately respond to today’s evolving catastrophe landscape, insurers need to be prepared with contingency plans for their contingency plans to make sure the “perfect storm” of 2017 doesn’t happen again. Through streamlined, coordinated team response, expert scenario planning and the vast knowledgebase of worldwide claims expertise, insurers can rest easy knowing they’re getting the best possible resources working on the frontlines of catastrophe.


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Hurricane season 2019 is officially underway, and so now is the time to take action and prepare before a possible hurricane threat. It’s imperative that policyholders understand the coverage and rights provided under their insurance policy. Therefore, one of the first things a policyholder should do is request a copy of their insurance policy now and confirm that they have the coverages provided are correct and appropriate for the type of property or interest being insured. Additionally, the policyholders should have a good understanding of the exclusions provided under their insurance policy, in other words, what is not covered under their policy if they suffer a hurricane loss.
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Ha iniciado la nueva temporada de Huracanes 2019, y son muchos los preparativos que debemos llevar acabo ante la posible amenaza de un huracán. Es imperativo que los asegurados entiendan la cobertura y los derechos bajo su Póliza de Seguros. En primer lugar, cada asegurado debe solicitar una copia de su póliza de seguros y confirmar que las coberturas sean las correctas según su propiedad o interés en asegurar. Además, el asegurado debe entender cuáles son las exclusiones bajo su póliza de seguros si sufre daños a causa de un huracán, en otras palabras, lo que no está cubierto bajo su póliza.
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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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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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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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In a recent op-ed article published in the Star Ledger, Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman debunked the myth that insurance companies have been using for decades to prevent good faith claims handling bills from passing through the legislature. As Feinman noted, insurance companies argue that the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) is unnecessary and would be harmful, suggesting the bill would dramatically raise insurance premiums.
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