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Sedona Insurance Law Blog

How far down the chain of command can an insurance suit go?

When Arizona consumers purchase goods or services, they have a right to expect fair and honest treatment from the provider. When they don't get it, the first step is often to work up a chain of representatives until someone does the right thing.

Insurance is a horse of another color. Many consumers don't want it to begin with and many try to avoid filing claims, fearing premium increases. And then there's the reality that insurance companies seek to minimize compensation. Protecting your rights against insurer bad faith becomes another annoyance.

Insurance contracts could be void if they are not in English

Let's say that you are an Arizonan who speaks English as a second language. When you purchased your insurance policy, your provider gave you a contract written in your mother tongue. After all, insurance contracts can be confusing enough without trying to decipher a language with which you aren't familiar. You expect that the terms of your contract will be the same in English as in your native language.

Now, let's say that you have filed an insurance claim, only to have it denied. The reason? The wording of your contract is slightly different from its English translation. You take the matter to court--but find that the contract you signed is void because it is not in English.

GEICO insurance guilty of bad faith, breach of contract

For most people, GEICO Indemnity Insurance CO. (GEICO) is best known for its television commercials involving a computer-animated lizard with a British accent. But the verdict of a recent bad-faith insurance case paints it is an unprofessional and unscrupulous company that dragged out a policyholder’s insurance claim for six arduous years.

The most egregious part? The policyholder was a man who had been severely disabled in a car accident and trusted that GEICO would fulfill its obligations to him.

Californians wildfire victims still trying to recover financially

California’s recent wildfires have died down, ending a particularly brutal wildfire season. The past six months have been a turbulent period for wildfire victims, from private residents to local businesses. Experiencing the terrifying fires was difficult enough; now, survivors must also file insurance claims, recover their lost property and try to put their lives back together.

But despite survivors’ best efforts, it looks as though it will take a long time to completely recover financially. The wildfires took a devastating financial toll on thousands of people, and many insurance companies are not doing their part to help their clients. In fact, some insurance companies have actively contributed to the financial hardship of their clients who are wildfire survivors.

Insurance companies may try to charge policyholders unfair rates

Following last year’s national tax overhaul, California State is reminding its insurance companies that their rates must reflect the new corporate tax rate. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed in December of 2017. One of its components was a major reduction of the corporate tax rate. Under the new law, the tax rate for corporations was slashed from 35 percent to 21 percent—a 14 percent difference. This means that insurers are obligated to adjust their prices to accommodate the new tax rate.

Passing savings on to consumers

Insurance companies often let down wildfire survivors

Although it has been nearly five months since devastating wildfires damaged thousands of California homes, thousands residents are still struggling to get their insurance providers to pay their damages. Many policyholders are realizing an uncomfortable, frustrating truth: That their insurance companies do not want to fulfill their promises.

Insurance companies are not your friend

California to investigate Aetna’s insurance claims process

The insurance commissioner of California is currently investigating the insurance provider Aetna regarding statements made by the company’s former medical director. In a recent deposition, the medical director stated that in all his time at Aetna, he never looked at clients’ medical records when he was assessing whether to approve or deny care. It is possible that many clients’ insurance claims were denied because their medical records were not properly assessed by a physician.

Dr. Jay Ken Linuma, the medical director for Aetna for Southern California from 2012-2015, admitted in under oath that instead of examining his patients’ medical records himself, his nurses would review the records and make recommendations to him. Dr. Linuma claimed that he was following Aetna’s internal practices for its claims process. The deposition was the result of a lawsuit brought by a former client whose benefits were withheld.

Fire insurance: A primer for Californians

Californians have only recently begun to piece their lives back together after last fall’s spate of wildfires spread property damage throughout the state. There are many serious tasks to deal with, such as finding a new place to live and recovering lost property. Another important step that wildfire victims will have to take care of is filing a fire insurance claim.

Fire insurance is a topic that is confusing for many policyholders. Is fire insurance included with homeowners’ insurance? Will it cover the damage caused by wildfires? Let’s take a look at some of the basic tenets of fire insurance.

Tips for getting a fair insurance payment for wildfire damages

You have lost your home to the devastation of the recent California wildfires, and you are wondering what to do next. One of the biggest questions on your mind is probably how to file an insurance claim and receive the payment that you need to rebuild your home. Like most policyholders, you probably anticipate that your insurance provider will offer you a settlement that is large enough to rebuild your house and replace your possessions. But this is not always the case. As we discussed in a recent post, insurance companies do not always play fair with their clients.

Although insurance companies frequently try to lowball their policyholders, there are some things that you can do to try to receive a fair settlement. These are a few tips that you can use to get your insurance provider to give you a fair payment regarding your wildfire-related damages.

Insurance won’t always cover wildfire-related claims

When 2017’s wildfires ripped through California, hundreds of thousands of policyholders trusted that their insurance policies would provide adequate coverage for the damage. Unfortunately, many Californians are finding out the hard way that insurance companies do not always come through for their clients. Even if a policy provides coverage for fire damage, an insurance company will not always honor it.

There are several ways in which insurance companies try to evade paying their fair share of fire-related damages. It is important for consumers to recognize and understand these reasons when they are dealing with their insurance provider. To help you, we have compiled some of the most significant ways that insurance companies try to evade wildfire claims.

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