When it comes to fighting insurance companies, we pursue every right that your policy and the law entitles you. If that requires us to push an insurance company into the courtroom so a jury of your peers can finally tell them they are wrong and they owe you more on the claim, that's what we do. If it requires we push beyond the jury verdict and pursue the insurance company for their bad faith treatment of you while they were “investigating” and adjusting your claim, that's what we do. After obtaining the first Hurricane Michael jury verdict in Bay County in October 2021 for UPC's breach of its insurance contract with our client, we recently obtained an Order from the Court allowing us to amend that Complaint to add a count for UPC's bad faith handling of our client's insurance claim.
What is Insurance Bad Faith?
We have written several times about bad faith claims here before, explaining what a claim for bad faith is and how to preserve it. As we discussed in those articles, preserving a claim for bad faith, which is separate and apart from the claim for the insurance company's breach of contract, requires tedious knowledge of the current bad faith law and three things. First, we must file on behalf of our clients a proper Civil Remedy Notice that complies with Florida law. Second, we must show there has been a determination that the insurance company owed more on the claim than they paid (i.e., liability), and, third, what that additional amount was (i.e., damages).
How UPC Handled Our Client's Claim in Bad Faith
In our Hurricane Michael jury verdict matter, UPC handled the claim in bad faith by, among other conduct:
- Intentionally undervaluing the claim in an attempt to pay as little as possible;
- Offering subsequent payments in small stairstep increments, each time after significant delay, in hopes of finally defeating our client's will to seek the amount she was rightfully owed;
- Demanding a sworn proof of loss and other documents when they were not actually needed or relevant to the claim;
- Wrongfully denying the claim based on an allegation that our client had not done everything the insurance company asked her to do; and
- Refusing to pay undisputed amounts even though their own expert concluded the insurance company under paid the claim.
The Bad Faith Damages We Are Seeking
As a result of this bad faith conduct, our client suffered damages over and above what was owed her on the insurance contract, in the form of:
- Added delay, expense, and cost of having to submit her claim to a jury in order to finally force UPC to pay the amount owed on the claim;
- Additional mortgage payments for an alternative place to live because UPC did not pay enough to allow the repairs to commence at her home; and
- Damage to her credit and financial well-being as a result of the financial stress UPC's failure to pay for the necessary repairs caused her.
We will pursue UPC to the full extent possible to recover these damages which were caused by UPC's bad faith handling of our client's claim. If this requires we force UPC to the courthouse again for a second jury trial, this time on the bad faith claim, that's what we'll do.
We Are Prepared to Pursue Every Client's Claim for Bad Faith
At TWWH, we understand the complexity of insurance claims and the immense work involved in pursuing the policyholder's rights, even if it means a second jury trial on the bad faith claim. Every case we take at our firm we treat as if we may have to push that far. We are prepared to do that for every client and case we accept. If you have questions about an insurance claim or feel your insurance company is acting in bad faith, never hesitate to contact us for a free, no-cost, no-obligation consultation. We will answer any questions you may have and let you know if we believe we can help you.