When a person buys an insurance policy and pays the premiums, a contract exists between that person and the insurance company. The insured pays for the policy, and in return the company promises to pay for any damage or injury covered by that policy. Insurance bad faith occurs when the company fails to keep its part of the contract.
Florida has an Insurance Bad Faith Claim Statute (Stat. Sec. 624.155), as does almost every U.S. jurisdiction. Those statutes require insurance companies to honor all policy terms and deal in good faith with their policy holders. When they fail to do that, the law allows the insured person to sue for bad faith.
An Underlying Problem
One of the problems which underlies insurance disputes is the opposing interests of the company and you, the insured person. Insurance companies do not generate their income by paying claims! Being a business entity in a competitive market, each insurance company must make a profit in order to keep its shareholders happy. Income is derived from interest on invested funds – funds paid to the company as premiums.
So while insurance adjusters may be pleasant and polite, their job is to persuade you to accept a lowball offer.
The Hurricane Aftermath Situation
After a hurricane, chaos reigns for a while. So many people file claims for property damage that the insurance adjusters become overwhelmed, trying to inspect so many properties in their workday. In the hurry, the extent of property damage may be mis-documented, or mis-reported. In addition, to help with the workload, insurance companies my bring in adjusters from other states who are not familiar with Florida’s building methods. They may mis-calculate your repair costs, which again results in too low an offer.
If you object to the offer made by your insurance adjuster, the company may turn to delay tactics, more paperwork requirements, and other strategies designed to wear you down. Insurance companies retain teams of lawyers for the purpose of dealing with policy holders when necessary.
Put Yourself on an Equal Footing
If you have your own attorney speaking for you, this puts the dispute on a new footing. Now the company’s attorneys must deal with another attorney, rather than with a harried and worried private citizen. As your representative, we will be impossible to intimidate or frighten. We know well how these issues go and how to negotiate through the maze of apparent problems.
If your claim is being denied, we will look into whether the company:
- Has a reasonable basis for denying your claim
- Is acting with reckless disregard for the facts, or for your rights
- Knew or should have known that there is no basis for denying your claim
- Has properly investigated the claim
If your claim is indeed a fair one, we would negotiate aggressively for you. If the company proved to be stubborn in its unfair refusal of your claim, despite the facts, we would take the matter to court.
If you have received a lowball offer for the damage to your home, business, or rental property, you do not need to deal with it by yourself. We will be glad to represent you and make sure that you receive fair compensation for your property damage losses.
Please know that you do not have to deal with uncooperative insurance companies by yourself. We are here to help. If you call or email us, we will be glad to set up a free consultation for you. Our office is in Orlando, and serves all of Florida. Se habla español.
Suite 830 Top Floor
Orlando, FL 32801