10 Commandments for Insurance Companies
First Party Insurance Claims: Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?
Many residents of the Gulf Coast have personally experienced a hurricane or tropical storm and its aftermath. During the heart of hurricane season, we would like to remind you of the rights you have under insurance policies purchased to protect your home and family. This type of insurance policy is referred to as first party insurance, meaning the insured individual (the homeowner) is protected by the insurer.
Insurance companies provide a crucial and costly service. Very few people “casually” need the help of their insurers—in most cases, needing an insurance company means you need help quickly and desperately due to an unexpected event like a natural disaster. Therefore, it is important to know what your rights are when dealing with your insurer.
While laws vary state to state, we have compiled a general list of the 10 Commandments for an Insurer:
- Insurers must conduct a reasonable (i.e. full, comprehensive) investigation.
- Insurers must conduct a prompt investigation (usually within two weeks or so).
- Insurers must provide a fair settlement in good faith when coverage is “reasonably clear.”
- Insurers must not deny a claim because other coverage is available or a third party is responsible.
- Insurers must not misrepresent the policy terms or available benefits to the client.
- Insurers must not seek to close a claim when only a partial payment is made.
- Insurers must provide a reasonable explanation for claim denial or compromise offer.
- Insurers must not deny claims in bad faith.
- Insurers must act in good faith with claimants (or risk attorneys’ fees in every state other than Mississippi).
- Insurers must pay claims when coverage is reasonably clear.
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If an insurance company does not comply with these rules or pay everything required under the contract or by law, this is referred to as bad faith insurance practices.
Some examples of an insurance company acting in bad faith include:
- Delaying or denying compensation without a justifiable reason
- Failing to promptly acknowledge and reply to a claim
- Failing to perform a proper and thorough investigation into the claim
- Attempting to settle a claim for a less than reasonable amount
- Failing to inform the insured of an appeals process
- Failing to provide a reasonable explanation for a denied or underpaid claim
- Requiring unnecessarily burdensome documentation in order to process a claim
- Using harassing investigative methods to intimidate the claimant
At Arnold & Itkin, we have represented victims of hurricanes, tropical storms, wildfires, and other natural disasters since 2004. When it comes to filing an insurance claim and successfully obtaining the monies owed to you, there is no better team to trust than that of our personal injury lawyers. We are qualified to handle matters of insurance claim disputes in all 50 states, and we are available seven days a week for you. You can rely on our firm when disaster hits.
If you believe that your insurance company is not obeying all 10 of these commandments, contact the personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP. We can help you determine your case.