Many insurance companies are huge entities that provide insurance coverage to hundreds, if not thousands, of people. While these companies offer protection to their insureds, they are also in the business of making money. That means that if they can deny the claim, they likely will. Unfortunately, this practice can result in shady or unfair claim denial or settlement, even for their own paying customers.
Florida law offers some protections to consumers from large, more sophisticated insurance companies. It does this through the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act and other related regulations. A Miami insurance claim lawyer will be able to explain how this particular law affects your situation, you can also use the following overview to get an idea of the protections available to you.
What is the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act
Florida law provides protection to policyholders from insurance companies for issues like bad faith and unfair dealing. Insurance companies know a lot more about their products and services than the average consumer. Unfortunately, they sometimes take advantage of this imbalance of information and power to your detriment.
The Florida law addresses issues such as:
- Denying claims without any investigation
- Delayed or untimely investigations
- Denial of total loss claims in spite of supporting evidence
- Apparent violations of the terms of the insurance policies
- Undervaluing damage property
- Allegations of arson or property destruction
- Misrepresentations of the benefits, conditions, or terms of an insurance policy
- Making false or misleading statements to policyholders
- False or misleading advertisements
This law also addresses issues where the insurance company may attempt to mistreat you, such as denying renewals or canceling policies.
Your Rights Under Florida Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Law
As a policyholder, you have the right to fair treatment under Florida law. If the insurance company engages in deceptive or unfair practices, you have legal rights. Talking to an insurance company that is already trying to take advantage of you is really not an option in these cases. Instead, you may need to start a lawsuit to get the insurance company to take you seriously.
Civil lawsuits that involve insurance company wrongdoing are generally focused on the premise of “bad faith.” Insurance companies are expected to deal with their insureds in “good faith.” However, this term is difficult to define. Instead, it is often easier to talk about practices in terms of bad faith. All of the issues that were cited above can be considered “bad faith.”
Bad faith claims are based on something more than mere negligence, but they may fall short of intentional conduct. The insurance company may not have acted honestly or with your best interests in mind when it engaged in bad faith.
Damages available in bad faith claims can include:
- Value of the initial insurance claim
- Any costs that you incurred because of the claim denial or delay
- Emotional distress damages
You may also be entitled to punitive damages for serious or egregious situations. These damages are designed to punish the insurance company and deter similar behavior in the future.
Bad faith claims are complicated, and insureds are going up against an entity that has a lot of experience and knowledge. If you think you have a bad faith claim, you need help from an insurance claim lawyer like those at Korin Law. Contact our team today for more information.