According to IRMI.com, verdicts across the nation associated with bad faith conduct are significant—the ten largest bad faith verdicts between 2013 and 2018 averaged $21 million If you are a victim of hurricane damage in New Orleans, LA and your insurance company is refusing to pay (or dragging their feet), how do you prove your hurricane damage claim is being denied in bad faith? The answer can be complex, often requiring the services of an experienced insurance bad faith attorney.
Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys is the advocate in your corner when life throws you a curve. Those facing an insurance dispute or denial need strong legal support—an attorney who is never afraid to go up against a huge insurance company, demanding the company fulfill its promises. Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys will work hard on your behalf to ensure your future is not marred by a bad faith hurricane insurance denial.
What Changes Were Made to Louisiana’s Bad Faith Statutes After Hurricane Katrina?
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, insurers faced unprecedented challenges as they attempted to resolve more than a million Gulf Coast resident claims. A significant number of these claims found their way to state and federal courts in the state of Louisiana. This prompted changes to Louisiana’s bad faith insurance statutes dictating insurers’ obligations to their customers. These updated statutes allow additional penalties and attorney’s fees to be obtained against insurance companies that fail to pay a claim within 30-60 days.
Bad faith occurs when the insurance company has failed to pay a claim within 30-60 days of being notified of the loss or has engaged in any of the following:
- The insurance company fails to maintain the “normal standard of living” of the policyholder through its failure to pay adequate additional living expenses (loss of use coverage).
- The insurer denies the hurricane claim outright before the details are reviewed.
- The insurer makes an offer that is far less than the worth of the claim.
- The insurance company fails to pay sufficient contents coverage, assigning a high degree of depreciation on the contents of a home.
- The insurer refuses to investigate the claim.
- There is little effort on the part of the insurance company to document a claim.
- The insurance company fails to respond to phone calls, emails, and letters from the insured.
What is First-Party Bad Faith vs. Third-Party Bad Faith?
A first-party insurance claim is brought against an insurance company by a policyholder for failure to adequately cover damages or to refuse payment altogether. If a policyholder believes his or her insurance company did not live up to their promises, then a first-party insurance claim results. A third-party insurance claim involves the insurance company, the policyholder, and a third party for whom the insurance company refuses to accept liability.
When the policyholder is being sued, and the insurer steps in to defend them, the insurance company must act with due regard for the policyholder’s best interests. As an example, when you have home insurance, you are generally covered (to specific limits) if a person is injured on your property and sues you. If your insurer fails to properly defend the claim, you could be held personally liable—and the insurance claim could be guilty of third-party bad faith.
How Do I Prove My Hurricane Damage Claim Was Denied in Bad Faith?
When you are attempting to prove your hurricane damage claim was denied in bad faith, you can hit many stumbling blocks if you do not have an experienced New Orleans, LA bad faith insurance attorney by your side. To adequately prove bad faith, it must be clearly shown that the insurer acted unreasonably and without proper cause. Evidence must be present showing the insurer failed to make a prompt, full, fair claim investigation, denying coverage without benefit of a genuine dispute.
If My Insurer Requests an Examination Under Oath Must I Do That?
The purpose of an Examination Under Oath (EUO) is to enable the insurer to obtain the necessary information to properly process the claim. The obligation for the EUO is contractual, governed by the terms of the insurance policy—in other words, your participation is required. You may be represented by legal counsel at a EUO, although technically, the attorney may not lodge objections. Even so, it is a good idea to have legal counsel for a EUO, primarily concerning preparation for the questioning.
How Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys Can Prove Hurricane Damage Claims Denied in Bad Faith
Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys is dedicated to solving problems, including insurance disputes. Our goal is to make things right for our clients, their families, and their futures. We understand the toll insurance denials, delays, and underpayments can take on your life and your future. We can help you through the process in the most efficient, easy manner as we deliver the results you deserve. We always put our clients first and are ready to meet your needs at every turn. Contact Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys today for help in proving your hurricane damage claim was denied in bad faith.