Despite what their advertising campaigns may claim, insurance companies are very reluctant to pay claims. After all, the insurance companies make money by collecting and investing premiums, and not by paying claims. The bottom line is that insurance companies are only concerned with their bottom line. If the insurance company begins to act unreasonably, bad-faith insurance laws may apply.
Although there are many different types of bad-faith cases, Florida accident attorneys see the following tactics employed over and over by various insurance companies:
- Delay in paying claims: If liability is not an issue, the insurance company has the duty to promptly pay the claim. The adjuster may not make excuses for delays or otherwise delay payment.
- Failure to make a reasonable offer: Insurance companies often delay the process to put financial pressure on the claimant to settle the case for less than full value.
- Failure to state the reason for denial: An adjuster cannot simply deny your claim. The adjuster must provide the basis for denial to lay a foundation for future negotiations.
- Premium increase and policy cancellation: The insurance company cannot take adverse action against you simply because you brought a claim.
- Less than full disclosure: If the insurance company tries to keep you or your attorney from obtaining a copy of the claims manual, there may be a good chance that the adjuster did not follow established procedures.
- Providing false information: It is not unheard of for the adjuster to lie about certain aspects of the case, such as the availability of a witness or the content of a witness statement.
Insurance companies act in good faith when they attempt to settle a claim promptly and efficiently, but if you suspect this is not the case, the insurance company may have to answer for its misconduct. Contact an attorney before you call the insurance company.