When you take out an insurance policy with a company, they have a duty to act in good faith and deal fairly with you. To act in good faith, your insurance company must handle your claim promptly, cooperating and communicating with you in a timely manner. Your insurance company should try to find a basis to pay your claim rather than reasons to avoid it, and inform you in writing of specific reasons if it denies your claim. In return you, as the insured party, have a responsibility to pay your premiums on time, submit your claim in a timely and proper manner, and provide all the truthful information that your insurer is entitled to.
Unfortunately, not all insurance companies hold up their end of the bargain. In an attempt to secure maximum profits for their business, insurers will sometimes try to diminish the value of your claim or deny it altogether without a reasonable basis. They may also fail to properly investigate or resolve your claim in a timely manner, or use abusive or manipulative tactics to settle your claim. All of these behaviors are illegal under Florida law.
When it comes to bad faith practices, some insurance companies have a worse track record than others. Below, we’ve listed three major insurance companies with the worst histories of bad faith.
Allstate. Allstate is consistently ranked the worst insurance company in the US by the American Association for Justice (AAJ). Allstate has been known to engage in a variety of bad faith insurance practices, including delaying and denying valid claims without fair reason. According to some reports, Allstate agents are encouraged to lie to clients and are rewarded for settling claims at the lowest amount possible.
Unum. Unum has a long record of needlessly denying and delaying legitimate claims, and has an incredibly low rate of customer satisfaction. Former employees have reported to being told to deny legitimate claims in order to secure maximum profits for the company.
AIG. This company is one of the world’s largest insurers, and has been accused of raising premiums after disasters. Other bad faith practices include developing deceptive schemes to delay and deny claims in order to secure maximum profits for the company. AIG has also been accused of working with brokers to submit fraudulent bids in insurance markets to create a false impression of competition, forcing businesses to pay inflated insurance rates.
While these are some of the worst contenders, many other insurance companies have been known to engage in bad faith practices in order to save money and secure maximum profits for their company. Under the Florida Unfair Claims Practices Act, insurance companies are required to treat clients fairly and handle claims in a fair and prompt manner. When insurance companies mistreat their clients and deny valid claims, they are breaking the law.
If you believe that your insurance company has breached the terms and conditions outlined in your contract, you should consult with an experienced Florida bad faith attorney. A skilled bad faith lawyer can help you stand up to greedy insurance companies and their expensive lawyers, working tirelessly to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you are due. With the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer, you can stop massive insurers from freely walking all over their clients in an attempt to obtain maximum profits, while sending a powerful message to others who have been mistreated by their insurance companies.
About the Author: Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.