An insurance policy is a contract. In exchange for your premiums, the insurance company promises in good faith to pay your valid insurance claims. When the insurance company fails to meet its obligations and act in good faith according to the insurance policy, insurance bad faith is said to exist. If insurance bad faith can be proven, Florida law allows the insured to collect damages, attorney fees, and costs.
In the United States, most laws regulating insurance companies are implemented on a state by state basis. This came about based on an 1869 United States Supreme Court decision on Paul v. Virginia, 75 U. S. (8 Wall.) 168, 19 L. Ed. 357 (1869) that stated that the United States Congress did not have the authority to regulate commerce and therefore the insurance industry. This decision was reaffirmed in 1948 when the United States Congress passed the McCarran-Ferguson Act that stated that Congress could not pass any law superseding, impairing or invalidating any State laws regarding the regulation of the insurance industry. Because of this act, nearly all regulation of insurance takes place at the state level.
The insurance bad faith concept can be traced back to 1973 when the Supreme Court of California issued its decision in Gruenberg v. Aenta Ins. Co., 510 P. 2d 1032. The decision held that a tort claim may exist for those policyholders that can prove that the insurance company acted in bad faith. Since then, many states in the U.S. have adopted laws covering the concept of insurance bad faith. In 1982 the Florida legislature enacted Florida Statues 624.155 which officially gave birth to first-party bad faith actions against insurance companies.
Examples of Insurance Bad Faith:
- Insurance company unreasonably denies, terminates, or suspends your claim;
- Insurance company ignores or delays paying your claim;
- Insurance company underpays or low-balls your claim;
- Insurance company unjustifiably suspends or cuts-off payments on your previously approved claim;
- Insurance company interprets ambiguous language in your policy in their favor to avoid paying your claim;
- Insurance company purposely conceals benefits entitled to you under your insurance policy;
- Insurance company uses unethical tactics to dissuade you from filing your legitimate claim;
- Insurance company misrepresents coverage during the application or claims-handling process;
- Insurance company makes exhaustive and unreasonable demands for documentation;
- Insurance company makes false allegations that information was not received in a timely manner;
- Insurance company fails to investigate a claim promptly;
- Insurance company fails to confirm or deny coverage within a reasonable time;
- Insurance company engages in unreasonable interpretations of policy language;
- Insurance company fails to make timely payment of a covered loss or benefit;
- Insurance company fails to participate in meaningful settlement negotiations;
- Insurance company engages in insurance fraud;
- Insurance company engages in other malicious and dishonest conduct.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at[email protected].