Unfair Claims Handling Practices

Transcript: Hi. I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub.

In Indiana, there’s a statute that sets out claims handling requirements of insurance companies, and lists a number of things that are unfair or show a lack of good faith on the part on an insurance company.

One is called the “so sue me” trick.

That’s compelling an insured to file a lawsuit to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in lawsuits for the same type of claim. Another unfair practice is attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount which a reasonable individual would have believed the individual was entitled to, with reference to the written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application.

For example, your house is insured for $100,000. You pay premiums for $100,000 home. When you try to collect on a fire loss, the insurance company says your home is only worth $25,000. Another unfair practice is attempting to settle on the basis of an application for insurance that was altered after you submitted the application. On numerous occasions, we have found that an agent for the insurance companies will modify, without your permission, an application after you’ve submitted it, simply to try to avoid coverage. Let’s say you buy a life insurance policy for the price of the auto that you are taking out a loan from when you purchase it at the auto dealer.

To help you move along faster, the car salesman fills out the application for you and checks the box “no health problems.” After you sign it, you die, and your widow tries to collect. In such a case, an insurance company may try to say that you did not disclose on the policy application that you had had high blood pressure in the past or that you had some surgery 10 years earlier.

Examples such as this come from real life cases on which we’ve helped our clients obtain their insurance benefits after an insurance company first attempted to deny the claim. If you think your insurance company is not acting in good faith with you on a claim, call one of our attorneys today.

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