Insurance companies have a legal responsibility to use “good faith” settlement practices. Under key regulations such as the Washington Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA), policyholders and third parties can hold insurers liable for acting in bad faith. Plaintiffs may be able to recover compensation for the full value of their original claim and additional bad faith damages.
This raises an important question: How do you know if the insurer is acting in bad faith? After all, if the company is not treating you fairly they are unlikely to admit to the fact that they are acting in bad faith. Here, our Spokane insurance denial lawyers highlight five practices that suggest that the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
1. Failure to Investigate the Claim
Insurance companies have a legal obligation to investigate a claim. If the insurer fails or refuses to conduct an investigation of the claim then there is really no way for the company to know how much should be paid. Is your insurer not investigating your claim? You may be the victim of bad faith insurance practices.
2. Delay, Delay, Delay
Under Washington law, insurers are supposed to resolve claims in a reasonably efficient manner. Companies cannot use delay as a tactic. Does it feel like the insurance company is delaying every step of the way? If so, the insurer may be acting in bad faith. Do not let delays get to you: Call a Spokane, WA insurance law attorney for help.
3. Unreasonable Requirements on Policyholders
Another common bad faith insurance tactic is putting unreasonable requirements on the claimant. As an example, an insurer may request access to piles of documents or records that they do not actually need to handle the claim. Unreasonable requirements are indicative of an insurance company’s bad faith.
4. Egregious Undervaluing of a Claim
Pursuant to Washington law, insurance companies should offer a full and fair settlement of a valid claim. If an insurance company is making egregious settlement offers, you may be the victim of bad faith tactics. Make sure you know the value of your own case. Without an understanding of your claim’s true value, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to maximize your recovery.
5. Refusal to Pay a Valid Claim
Finally, one of the most straightforward examples of insurance company bad faith is the outright refusal to pay a valid claim. Insurance companies have a responsibility to pay claims—in full—without unreasonable delay. If the insurer is making up excuses to avoid paying a valid claim, that suggests bad faith.
Speak to a Spokane Insurance Denial Attorney Today
At Albrecht Law PLLC, our Washington insurance lawyers have the skills and experience to handle bad faith insurance claims. If you believe that the insurance company is unlawfully acting in bad faith, we can help. To schedule your no fee, no obligation case evaluation, please contact us right away by calling (509) 495-1246. We represent clients throughout the region, including in Spokane, Newport, Washtucna, Liberty Lake, and Country Homes.