Fire Ratings Lower Insurance Rates, But Bad Faith Remains a Concern
A recent announcement out of Jackson County, Mississippi brings good news for businesses and residents: Volunteer fire departments throughout the region were able to lower fire protection ratings through hard work and equipment investment, according to a report by ABC affiliate WLOX. This will mean lower commercial and homeowner’s insurance rates, which may go down about 5-15 percent and 10-15 percent, respectively. Even as most insurers are happy to pass on savings, there are others that engage in misconduct when a policyholder makes a claim. Fortunately, with the help of an insurance bad faith attorney, it’s possible to recover the amount owed to you under your policy.
Insurance Bad Faith Basics
You pay premiums to your insurance company so that you’ll have coverage in the event of a loss, and your insurer agrees to provide you with such protection. With that duty comes a company’s obligation to negotiate and settle any claims that you file in good faith. There may be a breach of this duty if an adjuster refuses to offer an explanation or factual support for a low settlement offer. However, bad faith is more than just an unwillingness to pay the amount you demand. Differences of opinion as to how much you believe you’re owed will typically not rise to the level needed to prove insurance bad faith in negotiating.
Examples of Insurance Company Bad Faith
It’s not always obvious when an insurance company is acting in bad faith in denying your claim or offering a low-ball amount to settle. Some indications that there be misconduct involved include:
- Unexplained delays in addressing your claim;
- Insufficient investigation;
- Refusing to respond to or make an offer;
- Denial of benefits without factual support; and/or
- Any other suspicious behaviors that seem to defy logic.
Your Options to Address Bad Faith by an Insurance Company
If you suspect that your insurer is acting in bad faith, your first step should be retaining a lawyer to represent your interests. Once adjusters know you’re represented by counsel, they’re often more willing to work with you. However, additional options include:
- Often, a letter mentioning bad faith can motivate an insurance company to be reasonable in settling your claim. Still, it must be carefully crafted and supported by relevant law.
- You may also file a complaint with the Mississippi Insurance Department, alleging bad faith of an agent or insurance company.
- It may be necessary to file a lawsuit to obtain the compensation you’re seeking from the insurance company, plus damages if there was egregious misconduct.
Has Your Claim Been Denied or Delayed? Talk to a Biloxi Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
Homeowners and businesses pay a lot for the peace of mind that insurance coverage brings, and they expect a company to act in good faith in honoring a claim. You may have options for recourse when an insurer fails to abide by this duty, but the company’s agents have the benefit of large legal departments on their side. You need an experienced attorney to aggressively pursue your claim and get the payment you deserve for your claim. The attorneys at the Biloxi Law Offices of Judy Guice have represented many clients in insurance bad faith matters, so please contact us today with questions about your situation.