Examples of Bad Faith – State Farm Insurance
Surrano Law Offices’ attorneys are determined to help you win your case, but more than that, we are determined to keep you from becoming a victim of fraudulent and unscrupulous people. It would seem, then, that our attorneys and staff wouldn’t have to worry about insurance companies because they are supposed to take care of their clients.
In actuality, insurance companies are often accused of bad faith, leaving clients like you with a mountain of frustration, debt, and in some cases, destroyed homes and property.
Popular insurance companies – those pushed most often through commercials, internet advertisements, and other media – are some of the ones most likely to be accused of bad faith. State Farm Insurance is one such company. It seems friendly; its slogan indicates the agents want you to think of them as “good neighbors.” However, bad faith cases often make State Farm Insurance look and feel like nosy, annoying, harmful citizens instead.
Examples of State Farm’s Bad Faith
In the past, State Farm has been obligated to pay $30 million to other firms’ clients after losing bad faith cases. One example occurred in 1993, when the company was accused of discriminating against four plaintiffs on the basis of religion and national origin, as well as bad faith (placing investors’ interests above client interest by rejecting claims or settling for less than the claim is worth).
Los Angeles attorney Tod Hindin uncovered documents proving that following a 1987 automobile accident case, State Farm filed a fraudulent claim against the four mentioned plaintiffs and their attorneys. In the claim, State Farm asked to be refunded the $30 million it had paid to these plaintiffs. Documents State Farm had left with Hindin, however, revealed the true nature of its claim. The insurance company was ordered to pay $145 million in punitive damages, even though Hindin failed to get a malicious prosecution case to trial.
Additionally, State Farm has been ranked the fourth worst insurance company in America due to its consistent bad faith cases and clumsy handling of claims. The company allegedly denied several insurance claims in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and allegedly routinely undervalued insurers’ properties.
Oklahoma insurers who brought suits against State Farm claimed the company “acted recklessly and with malice” when faced with claims related to $2 billion worth of tornado damage. Lawsuits claim that State Farm’s investors have routinely advised them to deny or delay claim payments.
Are You a Bad Faith Victim?
If you suspect State Farm or another insurance company has made you a victim of bad faith, Surrano Law Offices is standing by, but you need to help us help you. One way to do this is by educating yourself on the signs of bad faith. These include:
- Ignoring requests to file claims
- Trying to decrease your claim payment
- Making changes to your insurance policy without your prior knowledge and then altering the nature or amount of your claim based on those changes
- Engaging in discriminatory practices of any kind – race, religion, age, gender, disability, and so on
- Denying claims without a reasonable explanation
- Engaging in “one and done” policies, in which investigative corners are cut so a claim can quickly be denied or reduced
- Requiring excessive or irrelevant documentation
What You Can Do
The first step in dealing with bad faith is to contact Surrano Law Offices for assistance. We will give you a thorough consultation. You should also familiarize yourself with insurers’ rights and look into whether or not other bad faith cases have been filed. Some websites have this information, and it can be helpful in certain cases.