It is not uncommon for dedicated policyholders who have made years, or even decades, of insurance premium payments to feel as if their insurance carrier is acting in bad faith. After an accident, a devastating storm or commercial building damage, individuals rely on their chosen insurance company to uphold their end of the policy. Unfortunately, many insurance companies place a greater premium on their own bottom line over the well-being of their clients.
When handling the claim, an insurance company might act in bad faith. That is, they might attempt to delay, devalue or deny the claim based on unfair standards or shoddy research. While each situation is unique, there are some common warning signs that an insurance carrier is acting contrary to the needs of their clients, including:
- The settlement came too soon: On the surface, a quick settlement might seem like a gift. However, this could be a sign that the insurance carrier did not perform a thorough investigation. In fact, a fast settlement offer could indicate that the insurance carrier fears the policyholder performing an independent investigation and uncovering factors that could significantly increase the value of the claim.
- The company ignored certain evidence: The insurance carrier has a duty to perform a careful, thorough investigation. They must reach the settlement offer based on the collection of objective data. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an insurance carrier to ignore or remove evidence that could increase the value of the claim.
- The company shifts blame to the policyholder: It is not unlikely that the insurance carrier might claim that some fault lies with the policyholder. They might level these claims in an attempt to lower the overall settlement offer.
No matter the accident or the resulting damage, the insurance company has a duty to act responsibly in the interests of their policyholders. Attempting to deny, devalue or delay a policy claim is often referred to as bad faith. Whether the company presents the offer in bad faith or the carrier negotiates the settlement in bad faith, the policyholder has a right to hold them accountable.