Is It Typically True That The Greater The Amount Of Damage The Longer It Probably Will Take For The Insurance Company To Act Or Approve Or Deny A Claim?
For more significant claims, it can be true that the larger the claim, often the longer it will take for the insurance company to act. When there is a lot of money in controversy, millions of dollars, multiple units, the insurance company might take their time, and ensure they’re not overpaying. They don’t like to just fork over millions of dollars without a fight.
What Are Some Of The Most Common Reasons The Provider Gives For Denying, Delaying Or Underpaying A Claim Even If The Property Owner Has Provided Ample Proof That The Claim Is Valid?
Long-term wear and tear or constant repeated seepage or leakage are common reasons for denying, delaying, or underpaying a claim. The carriers like to say that the loss was going on for a very long time and that it wasn’t a sudden accidental type of loss. All insurance company policies have provisions such as wear-and-tear, marring, and deterioration. So, if you have a wooden bamboo floor in your house and you’re walking over it over the years, it’s going to get scuffed up; here will be dents and marks on it. Insurance companies don’t pay for that, and that makes sense. Still, that wear-and-tear marring provision is frequently applied to pipe bursts, roof leaks, or hurricane claims. In litigation, once we start taking depositions and discussing these matters in detail with the insurance companies, their field adjuster, and the other fact witnesses investigating the loss, we call the accuracy of those arguments into question.
There are many standard arguments that we see that insurance companies raise. Usually, they don’t hold up, and facts do not support them. Instead, they tend to be vague enough that the insurance company feels that they can raise them and rely on them to put up a fight for at least a few months while they delay and evaluate the claim.
What Is Bad Faith, And How Do You Know If Your Insurance Provider Is Acting In Bad Faith?
Bad faith is something that is an extra-contractual claim. You’re suing the insurance company because they failed to fulfill their obligations under the insurance policy, a contract between the insured and the insurance carrier. Bad faith is extra-contractual, so it means it is not a violation of the insurance policy. Bad faith is a violation of statutory provisions, and several dozen statutory provisions govern the behavior of insurance companies. This could be anything from investigating a claim in a timely fashion, completing the investigation within 90 days, not sending proper explanations for why a claim was denied, or any number of prohibited actions.
We file Civil Remedies Notices with the Department of Financial Services in many cases. It becomes public record, and puts the insurance company on notice that you are alleging that they violated one of the statutory provisions governing bad faith. At that point, the insurance company has 60 days to remedy this behavior. If they fail to fix the conduct within 60 days, you can potentially bring a bad faith lawsuit against them. Insurance companies don’t like them because the rules of discovery are much more generous. We are allowed to see the entire claim’s file that would typically be privileged in a normal first-party breach of contract claim.
In addition, bad faith claims seek punitive damages. So, while there have only been a handful of successful bad faith lawsuits in property law in the state of Florida in the last ten years, it is a precious tool that we have to create leverage both to get a settlement, and to potentially get discovery that we ordinarily would not be able to get in a regular first-party suit.
What Are the Next Steps A Property Owner Needs To Take If The Insurance Company Denies Or Delays A Claim?
Once they have denial or less payment, a property owner can either accept it or fight it. If they want to fight it, they should see an attorney as soon as possible to fight the claim for them.
What Sort Of Information And Evidence Should They Prepare To Bring To Your Office When They Are Starting Out On This Process?
Evidence can be anything they have concerning the claim; any documents, correspondence, and letters from the insurance company, any photographs of the damage, any inspection reports or paperwork, or any documentation at all related to either the loss or the property where the loss occurred. Anything in their possession concerning the claim may provide the necessary evidence. Additionally, any estimates that they might have from contractors to prepare the damage may be helpful.
For more information on First Party Insurance Claims In Florida, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (407) 915-5447 today.