Recently, after a one month trial, a jury in Arizona returned a verdict against MetLife's Auto and Home Division for over $55 million dollars. The claim could have been settled for a mere $30,400, the actual cash value (ACV) of the car at the time of loss. Instead, Metlife got hit with a 10 member unanimous jury verdict for $155,000 in compensatory damages and $55 million for punitive damages from their insurance bad faith handling of this case.
Back in 2002, the insured's had their car stolen from a shopping center parking lot. A few weeks later, the car was found in Mexico severely damaged. Despite the fact that the car had extensive damage, stripped of its VIN plate, electrical wires cut, car seats were slashed and the engine destroyed, Metlife refused to declare the auto a total loss and pay the ACV. Instead, Metlife offered $10,759 for repairs, approximately $19,673 less than what was owed to their auto finance company.
The lawyers for the insured's argued that Metlife handled the claim unfairly and put their aggressive profit projections ahead of the prompt payment of valid claims. In addition, the insured suffered credit damage when they were forced to stop making payments on their damaged vehicle resulting in the car being repossessed.
Metlife will appeal the verdict.
Insurance claims lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo handles stolen car, boat or any other stolen motor vehicle insurance claim in which your insurance company has denied. For a free consultation, please call 305-461-1095 or 1-866-71-CLAIM.