An insurance policy is a legally binding contract between a policyholder and an insurance company. Both parties to the contract are bound by its terms and conditions. If your property is damaged your policy obligates you to cooperate with your insurer while it investigates the facts and circumstances of your claim. Generally speaking, that means you must (i) allow your insurer to inspect the property, (ii) provide a statement describing how the damage occurred, and (iii) provide documents and other items upon request. It can be extremely frustrating, however, if you comply with all your insurance company’s requests, but then instead of being paid the ‘full value’ of your claim, you receive a multi-page letter listing all the reasons why it is delaying, underpaying, or denying your claim.
So, what recourse do you have when your insurance company isn’t treating you fairly? Thankfully, there are laws across the country that allow you to hold your insurance company accountable for such behavior. In Florida, laws were enacted decades ago that require insurance companies to handle insurance claims “fairly and honestly”. Unfair claims handling practices, commonly referred to as ‘bad-faith’, are against the law. F.S § 624.155 says, in part, that property insurers may be liable if they are:
Not attempting in good faith to settle claims when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due regard for her or his interests.
In certain situations, insurer’s may even be liable for punitive damages. While not commonplace, Florida law says that punitive damages may be appropriate:
. . . [I]f the acts giving rise to the violation occur with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice, and these acts are:
- Wilful, wanton, and malicious; or
- In reckless disregard for the rights of any insured
Punitive damages are generally awarded to punish bad conduct and deter future conduct.
Contact our Bad Faith Attorneys Today
If your insurance company is not acting with due regard for your best interests, or if they are not acting fairly and honestly, the time to act is now. Kubiak Law Group understands the law, your insurance policy, and the rules and regulations that pertain to bad-faith claims handling practices. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources required to fight insurance companies to protect your rights.
We offer free consultations, the same day return of calls and emails, and 24/7/365 availability. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn how we can help with your insurance claim.