Sedona Insurance Law Blog

New Jersey bill could lead to more bad faith suits

There is currently legislation in New Jersey that would make it easier for individuals to file bad faith lawsuits against insurance carriers. The bill called The New Jersey Insurance Fair Conduct Act (SB 2144) was passed by the state Senate and is now under consideration by the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee. If this group and the governor sign off on SB 2144, it would take effect at once.

What this means to the claimant

Judge denies NFL’s request to examine fraudulent claims

A federal judge has denied the NFL’s request to look into an estimated 400 claims on the $1 billion concussion settlement from 2017. The league requested that a special investigator look into these claims, pointing out that fraudulent ones are slowing down payments of valid claims.

The judge denied the claim recently, ruling that a special master and a claims administrator have effectively determined false claims so far. The judge conceded, however, that there was enough evidence of probable fraud to warrant concern.

California gets new law regarding coverage for fires

Wild fires are an ongoing topic of concern and conversation for many of us here in the west. Nowhere more so than in California where the heat index has recently been Arizona-like. The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they seem right on time now that California Governor Jerry Brown signed new legislation that requires insurance carriers to inform homeowners if their policies enable them replace or rebuild their home after a disaster involving wild fire.

Standardized information

Weinstein claims bad-faith insurance against carrier

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein has become a leading perpetrator of the #metoo movement. He is accused of assaulting and sexually harassing more than 70 women over the course of 40 years, including such notable victims as actors Uma Thurman, Ashley Judd and Dominique Huett.

Now as his case goes to trial, Bloomberg reports that his lawyers say they want an eight-day trial in federal court on the issue of Chubb Indemnity Insurance Co. and other insurers’ refusal to pay Weinstein’s legal fees in 11 lawsuits in the U.S. and abroad. The company claims that their policies exclude sexual molestation.

What does auto insurance cover?

The good news is that car insurance should cover quite a bit. As always, we advise that drivers check their policy before they purchase it, and they should discuss an insurance dispute with an attorney if the carrier initially denies the claim.

There are different levels of service and coverage drivers can purchase -- comprehensive and collision is the most inclusive and liability is the least expensive and covers fewest types of damage. Some with a less expensive car may be tempted to have less expensive insurance, but it’s really about the damage caused than the worth of your vehicle. The fact is that a serious accident can be financially devastating if policy doesn’t cover the damage or carrier doesn’t honor the claim.

Insurance companies know more about you than Facebook

Facebook got into hot water because the personal data of 50 million users was utilized by Cambridge Analytica and notably sold to the Trump campaign in 2016. It’s believed that this allowed the campaign to identify the personalities of users and then influence their decision-making process and behavior.

While this is considered scary to many Facebook users, insurance companies know even more about its customers, including such important data as:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Value of your home
  • Education
  • The condition of your health (for life insurance)

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.

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