Louisiana law imposes a duty of good faith and fair dealing on insurance companies. At a minimum, good faith means a prompt and thorough investigation conducted by an adjuster who has an open mind about the matter.
If an insurance company does not live up to this responsibility, a New Orleans insurance dispute lawyer can not only force the company to pay the claim. The insurance company might also be responsible for additional damages. Some of the most common bad faith tactics are examined below.
Insurance agreements are notorious for their long provisions and fine print. Typically, insurance agents provide policy summaries to potential customers. Courts give these salespeople some leeway in terms of the representations they make. But if the sales presentation grossly misrepresents some policy provisions, the presentation is probably insurance company bad faith.
Missing the 30-Day Settlement Deadline
If the parties agree on a disputed claim settlement, the insurance company has thirty days to cut a check. Excuses, such as a large number of claims due to a hurricane or other storm, are not acceptable. A thirty-one day delay is bad faith.
Unilateral Plan Alterations
This bad faith basis is rather vague. Clearly, the insurance company cannot change the policy without notice to the insured. Frequently, however, insurance companies send “policy addendums” to insured parties. These fine print mailings might or might not constitute fair notice of the
False Claims Regarding Legal Action
Insurance company representatives cannot threaten legal action over supposed violations, such as filing a fraudulent claim, when they know such action is not forthcoming. Likewise, they cannot promise the policy is being reviewed when no such review is in progress.
Refusing to Acknowledge a Claim’s Validity
Typically, the claims investigation involves some back and forth. For example, an adjuster might issue a preliminary denial and the insured party might submit documents which alleviate the adjuster’s concerns. At that point, the insurance company typically has 60 days to pay the claim.
Immovable Property Claims
Many insurance companies refuse to pay mobile home claims solely based on evidence like floodwater marks and detachment from the foundation. Such evidence is certainly relevant, but it is not dispositive. The insurance company still has a duty to properly investigate these claims.
Insurance companies must make a good faith effort to resolve all claims. For a confidential consultation with an experienced property casualty insurance lawyer in New Orleans, contact Isurance Claim HQ. After hours visits are available.