Millions of claims are filed with insurers every year in Florida. Unfortunately, some of them are resisted by the insurance company for its own self-interested reasons. Rather than working with the insured to see that all the benefits due under the policy are paid to the person who has diligently been sending premiums to the insurer in exchange for financial protection, these “bad faith” insurers do what they can to deny, delay, and minimize the claim.
Why? The short answer is that most people don’t bother to fight an insurer’s denial of a claim, so the insurance company gets to keep the money that it would have had to pay to those people.
This is certainly not what the poor insured needs, expects, deserves, or has asked for, and an experienced Florida bad faith attorney can help these people get the insurance benefits to which they’re entitled and make the insurer pay for any additional harm caused by its bad faith.
Florida Bad Faith Claims Depend on Statutes
Florida law has addressed this inherent imbalance of power and the unfairness it causes, by allowing insureds to sue insurance companies that violate any of the multiple regulations and requirements that the state imposes on insurers.
Florida bad faith actions require notice to the insurer and the Florida Department of Insurance 60 days before making a claim of bad faith. The notice is very technical, but experienced Florida bad faith attorneys handle it all the time.
Bad Faith Damages
Bringing a bad faith action allows insureds to collect the actual damages caused by the insurer’s actions, regardless of how much the insured would have been limited to under the insurance policy. So the insurer who has been victimized by bad faith can recover economic consequences such as lost revenue and the like, but also may be entitled to emotional distress damages and attorney fees. If the insurer’s conduct has been especially egregious, punitive damages may be available. These kinds of damages call for very specific and detailed evidence, which an experienced Florida bad faith attorney is uniquely qualified to find and present.
What Amounts to Bad Faith
Violation of specific statutory duties amounts to bad faith in Florida. Among these are a variety of “unfair claims settlement practices” that include:
- Failing to adopt and implement standards for the proper investigation of claims;
- Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions;
- Not acknowledging and promptly acting on the insured’s communications about the claim;
- Not conducting a reasonable investigation before denying the claim;
- Failing to promptly provide a written, reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement;
- Not notifying the insured about the need for additional information required to processing the claim;
- Not clearly explaining what information the insurer needs and why it’s necessary.
Florida Bad Faith is Complicated; Get Experienced Assistance
These unfair practices will be not be easy to prove. Whether an insurer has acted properly in handling any given claim depends on all the circumstances surrounding the insurer’s action. “All pertinent facts” go into the determination. This requires a thorough investigation by the attorneys handling the insured’s bad faith claim.
The insurance company has a large staff, many lawyers, and a lot more money that you probably do. If you think your insurer is acting in bad faith, don’t go it alone. At the Surrano Law Offices, our attorneys have decades of success in helping insureds recover against insurance companies that breach their duty of good faith. Call us or send us an email and tell us your story. Have your policy handy along with a history of your dealings with the insurance company. When you’ve been treated unfairly, we can help.