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Hold insurers accountable for hurricane damage claims

Hurricane Ida may have left Louisiana behind, but the storm’s wake leaves thousands of Louisianans dealing with the tremendous damage by the fifth strongest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. The storm has left some communities uninhabitable.

Property owners must now deal with the devastating emotional and financial repercussions. Many will soon file insurance claims to repair or rebuild. While insurance companies promise to be there for people in need, the reality is that many insurers will try to deny claims or reduce payments.

Legal requirements for insurance companies

If your home is damaged, you expect your insurance company to hold up its end of the bargain after faithfully paying your premiums. However, insurers are typically more interested in their bottom lines and look for ways to limit what they pay for claims.

The good news is that Louisiana has laws in place requiring insurance companies to act in good faith and fairness when assessing insurance claims. Under these provisions, insurers must reasonably work to settle claims expediently and efficiently.

Signs of bad faith insurance

Insurers who fail to uphold these standards can face bad faith insurance claims. Policyholders can take action when insurance companies knowingly:

  • Misrepresent facts or policy provisions related to coverage
  • Fail to pay a settlement within 30 days after a written agreement
  • Deny coverage or settle a claim based on a policy that was altered without the policyholder’s knowledge or consent
  • Mislead the claimant over the timeframe when legal proceedings may be initiated
  • Neglect to pay the claimant within 60 days after satisfactory proof of loss when the insurer’s negligence is considered unreasonable, random or without probable cause
  • Fail to pay claims under Louisiana law concerning immovable property when the failure is irrational, arbitrary or unreasonable

Taking action against bad faith insurers

It should be noted that not every reduced or denied claim can be considered bad faith, such as when the insurer makes a mistake or paperwork error. Bad faith typically results from intentional acts by insurance companies.

These cases can be complicated. That’s why it’s advisable to consult a knowledgeable insurance lawyer who understands insurer tactics to reduce or deny claims. Experienced lawyers can identify when unreasonable decisions are examples of bad faith.