The Law Office of James C. Spitz
Florida Legal Counsel With Decades Of Insurance Law Experience

Palm Beach County Insurance Legal Blog

Guidance toward filing bad faith insurance claims

Natural disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes, are harrowing and traumatic events that wreak havoc on cities and citizens across the country. Whether your home or property experienced a fire, water, hurricane, wind, or general property damage, you should be able to carry the peace of mind that your insurance company will cover all or most of the costs. Especially if you have paid your premium.

Well, that isn't always the case. Bad faith, or wrongfully denied insurance claims do happen and can significantly hinder or even eliminate the possibility of recovering your home or property successfully.

Elements of bad faith insurance claims

First, what is a bad faith insurance claim? A bad faith claim arises when the person who filed the claim believes that the insurance company handling the claim isn’t adhering to the legal guidelines set by the state and thus, mistreating the claimant.

Insurance companies are supposed to act in good faith, which means to pay fairly when justified and cannot purposely add roadblocks and deny the settlement. While this is a universal agreement, bad faith insurance tactics do occur.

Florida insurance company being sued for misleading clients

Health Insurance Innovations, an insurance company based in Tampa, Florida, is being sued by two different policyholders. Both claim that they did not receive the insurance coverage that they were promised.

A prospect in Ohio spoke with a Health Insurance Innovations sales representative in 2016. The sales rep assured her that he would find her the best policy at the lowest price. He offered her a policy for $240 a month. She believed that it was a traditional health plan with coverage guarantees and purchased the policy.

How quickly will the insurance company pay you?

Even if you file an insurance claim promptly and correctly, you’ll have to wait in uncomfortable silence until your check arrives. In the meantime, you’ll need to arrange repairs to your damaged property. How long should you wait for the check before you seek legal help? Two weeks? Two months?

Unfortunately, every contract is different. There might not be a specific rule in your contract about how quickly they must send you a check. However, Florida consumer protection laws state that it must be within a “reasonable” time frame.

Steps to take after a denied property damage claim

You file a claim with your insurance company after a storm blows a tree onto your roof. You’ve been a customer for years without incident, and this is your first claim.

After a couple weeks, you get a letter telling you the claim has been denied, and that you are responsible for the damages. What do you do now?

What homeowners in Florida should know about fire insurance

When a fire results in damages to your home, you may wonder where you should turn first. In this stressful scenario, you do not need the additional stress of a reluctant insurance company. It may surprise some people that insurance companies could be resistant when you submit a fire damage claim.

An insurance adjuster will meet with you, review the damage to your home and provide an estimate of your damages. The hard truth is that they may not prioritize your best interest because they work for the insurance company, not you.

Is your insurance company acting in bad faith?

When you choose an insurance company, you expect them to help you if needed--to cover what you've paid for and protect you.

Unfortunately, some companies will do neither of these, fighting valid claims and dragging their feet when they are required to pay.

Hurricane Irma spikes insurance claims, fraud and abuse rates

Hurricane Irma continues to cause dread and concern for homeowners who are dealing with the aftermath of damages left to their homes. This time it involves a steeper climb in insurance rates along with higher reports of fraud and abuse by insurance companies. An assignment of benefits (AOB) is a prominent reason. Fraudulent insurance claims in southern Florida have been a growing problem since 2006 and have significantly increased within the past ten years.

How an assignment of benefits (AOB) works

Widows can go to battle for denied life insurance

The loss of a spouse is utterly heartbreaking. While you emotionally suffer this tragedy, the pragmatic side of you might also worry about finances. If you depended on your spouse’s income, this heartache could accompany panic about how you will survive.

Life insurance is supposed to provide security for widows, but insurance companies usually check to see if they can escape payments somehow. They examine medical records to see if they show differences from what the policyholder reported to the company. Sometimes, however, they make incorrect assumptions or fail to see what really happened.

Cleaning up the mess from broken pipes

A burst water pipe is an unwelcome surprise for any home or business owner, and an expensive one at that. Depending where the pipe is located and how quickly you identify the problem, it will damage far more than just your plumbing. Walls, floors, fixtures and more are vulnerable. With broken pipes, it's not just about fixing your plumbing, but also the damage it caused.

One of the many frustrating things about dealing with a broken pipe is the aftermath. There are many insurance stipulations surrounding plumbing. Insurance covers most damage from broken pipes, but it truly depends on the circumstances and your insurance policy. Claims are often denied or undervalued for multiple reasons.

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