Getting an insurance policy from an insurance company creates a contract between you and the insurer, also known as a policy. You pay the insurance company a premium to maintain the policy, and in turn, the insurance company provides you with the coverage outlined in the policy when you need it. Insurance companies are required to deliver the services as outlined in the policy when you make a claim for coverage. This is known as acting in good faith.
Insurance companies are expected to act in good faith, and the state of Oklahoma has rules and regulations that enforce this requirement. Unfortunately, insurance companies sometimes think that the laws don’t apply to them when it comes to paying claims that were agreed upon when they offered the insurance policy. Sometimes, an insurer will work hard to underpay or deny a claim. This is known as acting in bad faith and undermines the spirit of the agreement made between the insurer and the policyholder.
When a claim is underpaid or denied, the policyholder is responsible for paying the outstanding balance for the services they received. This can leave the policyholder feeling as if they have no choice but to pay the bills and not trust insurance companies going forward. However, there is still hope for getting the insurance company to uphold its part of the contract. A policyholder who’s been denied a claim in bad faith needs to talk to an Edmond, OK, insurance attorney about their situation to learn how they can take action against the insurance company.
Understanding the Concept of Insurance Companies Acting in Bad Faith
Insurance companies offer insurance policies to the public at large to help protect against calamities of all kinds. Buying an insurance policy means engaging in a contract where you, the policyholder, pay premiums to the insurer for coverage when it’s needed. That means the insurer has a duty to uphold the policy terms and pay out a claim in accordance with those terms. This applies to all insurance companies across the board, no matter how big or small they are.
Sometimes it happens that a policyholder needs to use their insurance for any reason and finds out that the insurer won’t pay the claim as agreed upon. This comes in the form of paying out a lower amount than what’s in the policy, delaying the payment of a claim through various tactics, or an outright denial of the claim. An insurer who employs these and other types of delay or denial tactics is one that’s acting in bad faith.
As a policyholder, you have an expectation that the insurance company provides you with a payout when you need to use your insurance. That means starting a claim, explaining the reason why you need to use the insurance, and expecting that the insurer responds by paying the obligation. Yet insurance companies direct their representatives to do their best to drag out payment of the claim through a variety of tactics. In the meantime, you have service providers waiting for payment and looking at you to take care of the bills in some cases.
The insurer is acting in bad faith and ignoring its contractual obligation to you, the policyholder. It doesn’t matter how small or large the issue at hand may be. It all comes down to the insurer intentionally failing to honor the terms of the policy.
Why Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith
Some insurance companies are better than others, but all of them do what they can to get out of paying reasonable compensation to claimants. They do this to their own policyholders and personal injury victims alike. The driving reason is the fact that insurers are for-profit companies, and large claims eat into their profitability. Underpaying or denying valid claims helps insurers stay profitable.
The most effective way to hold an insurer accountable is to take legal action against them and force them to honor the terms of their policies. However, policyholders are often unaware of the fact they can take on an insurance company and be made whole.
It’s worth noting that not every denial is the result of the insurer acting in bad faith. There are times that a claim is denied for valid reasons, which means there is no case as the insurer was acting reasonably and in good faith. However, if you’ve gone through an unreasonable claims process that took too long, had unusual difficulty with getting the insurer to respond, or were denied coverage even though you should have been approved, the insurer may have been acting in bad faith.
Actions You Can Take When You Feel Your Insurance Company Acted in Bad Faith
You don’t have to accept that the insurance company is right in denying your claim, especially when the coverage is clearly outlined in the policy. There are actions you can take to push back against a bad-faith insurer. One such action is to file a complaint with the Oklahoma Insurance Department and wait for an investigation into the matter. However, even though the state needs to know when an insurance company is acting badly, you may not get the resolution you’re seeking.
Another action you can take is to get legal representation from a lawyer who can advocate for you against a bad-faith insurer. Speaking with a lawyer about your situation can help you determine if the insurer willingly denied your claim that you were entitled to under your policy. If there is evidence that the insurance company denied your claim without justification, you may be able to get compensation for the inconveniences you suffered as a result.
How Doug Terry Law Protects Your Rights from Bad Faith Insurers
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has ruled that all insurance policies include something known as an implied clause. That is, all insurance policies imply that the insurer will act in good faith when a claim is made. A policyholder shouldn’t have to wonder if their insurer is going to pay their claim. If you’ve experienced a situation where your insurer made it difficult for you to make a claim or denied you outright, you should call Doug Terry Law today and set up a consultation.
Doug Terry has been providing legal representation for clients who have been wronged by their insurers for many years. He understands the ins and outs of insurance companies, how they work, and the tactics they use to deny claims. He is capable of recognizing when an insurer was acting in bad faith and is able to evaluate your case to determine if you’ve been unfairly denied a claim and take action on your behalf.