Insurance companies have a duty to treat policyholders fairly and with good intentions. In fact, they are bound by Florida Statute 624.155. After all, insurance policies are meant to indemnify policyholders against specific losses. Despite this duty, insurance companies often act in bad faith. Insurance companies are ultimately for-profit businesses. Therefore, they may act unfairly or dishonestly in order to not fulfill the legal obligations as stated in their insurance policies to avoid paying claims, and maximize profits.
What is Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing?
In Florida, we recognize what is called “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing”, which is breached when an insurance company acts in bad faith.
What are Examples of Common Bad Faith Claims in Florida?
If you have opened a property loss claim, your insurance company may have acted in bad faith without you even knowing. Here are some examples of common bath faith claims handling; however, this list is not exhaustive:
1. Failure to relay important information to the policyholder;
2. Failure to deny or pay a claim within a reasonable time period;
3. Failure to respond to a payment demand within the requested timeframe;
4. Refusal to pay without fully investigating the claim;
5. Failure to settle the claim when the policy evidently covers the loss;
6. Misrepresenting the facts in order to offer a lower settlement.
How to File a Bad Faith Claim?
Filing a bad faith claim against your insurance company is done separately from your original claim. Under Florida law, policyholders affected by their insurance company’s bad faith actions may recover compensation either by the value of their initial claim, recovery for consequential costs, compensation for emotional distress, or punitive damages. These are typically referred to as “extra-contractual” damages, as they are damages that were not initially part of the contractual dispute between you and your insurance company based on the insurance policy.
It is best to contact an attorney who can file the claim on your behalf, review evidence, and answer any questions you may have, as the insurance companies have their own legal team to defend against any bad faith claims. Additionally, the ability to recover bad faith damages was recently amended by the legislature, which is why you should rely upon a bad faith insurance professional such as the Gelber Law Group to assist you.
Contact the Gelber Law Group for more information
Living with property damage can be stressful, and the insurance claim process can be lengthy. If you believe that your insurance company has acted in bad faith, contact Gelber Law Group, PA – your bad faith insurance attorneys – to assist you with a free consultation at 954-320-0100.