Insurance Bad Faith
Within the context of insurance claims, the term “bad faith” is often used by individuals and attorneys to refer generally to almost any improper act or omission alleged to have been committed by the insurance company relating to the processing, adjustment or settlement practices of the insurer.
An insurance company in Texas must at all times act reasonably in determining whether a claim is covered under the policy. Further, the insurer is required to process and pay a covered claim in a prompt manner. While coverage disputes often arise regarding the application of a specific policy provision, an insurance company has a duty to act in good faith when making a coverage decision. If your claim was wrongfully denied, it is important that you consult with a qualified and experienced Texas insurance attorney to assess and determine whether a reasonable basis for denial existed under the insurance policy.
If your insurance company has misrepresented the coverage available under the insurance policy or otherwise unreasonably delayed, denied or underpaid your insurance claim, you may have a valid claim involving bad faith allegations against your insurance company, which may entitle you or your business to extra-contractual damages beyond the actual damages covered by the insurance policy.
Combating Insurer Bad Faith
While some insurance claims are fully paid in a timely manner, other people’s claims languish for months or even years without resolution. Unfortunately, many policyholders find themselves in the position of fighting a large insurance company alone while the insurer employs various methods aimed at delaying coverage decisions or intentionally confusing the relevant issues of a particular claim. When this happens, an aggressive and knowledgeable Texas insurance attorney can help you combat your insurance company as well as uncover evidence supporting allegations demonstrating the insurance company’s failure to conduct a reasonable and independent investigation. Our practice areas for bad faith insurance litigation include:
- Coverage Disputes
- Deceptive Trade Practice Violations
- Insurance Code Violations
Failure to Independently Investigate Claim
To avoid liability of valid claims, insurance companies may rely on biased experts retained by the insurance company to provide analysis and opinions which relate directly to the question of coverage. Failure by the insurance company’s expert to conduct an independent investigation into the cause of loss will undoubtedly hinder the policyholder’s ability to obtain money owed under the policy. These insurance company experts often have a long history of providing reports to insurance companies which are then relied upon by the carrier to communicate its denial of the insured’s claim. If the insurance company’s reliance on these expert reports is not reasonable, you may be entitled to obtain damages due to bad faith on behalf of the insurance company.
Failure to Promptly Adjust Policyholder Claim
Many insurance companies utilize outside “independent adjusters” who are not employees of the insurance company. It is not uncommon for the insurance company to advise a policyholder of multiple changes of adjusters during the course of a claim investigation. This often results in repeated delays in the claims handling process and can have the effect of making an insured feel as though they are starting over. Regardless of the tactics, insurance companies are obligated to pay or resolve your insurance claim in a timely manner. The attorneys at Smith Kendall have over ten years experience dealing with insurance company deceptive practices aimed at denying or limiting your coverage under the policy.
If you have filed a claim with your insurance provider and your claim has been unjustly denied or underpaid, please contact Kondos & Kondos today. Attorneys are available by phone, e-mail, or by clicking here.