WHAT YOU CAN DO IF AN INSURER IMPROPERLY REFUSES TO PAYYou faithfully pay your premiums on time. Each year you renew your policy praying that you will never have to file a claim. Then something awful happens that requires you to notify your insurance company of a covered loss that could cause you to lose all of your hard earned assets. You rightfully expect the insurance company to honor the policy provisions and pay your losses or defend you in court. Instead of paying right away, the insurance company refuses to pay, or delays in making payment. You may be forced to pay out of your pocket for legal fees and judgments that should have been paid by the insurer. Worst case is that you can be forced into bankruptcy or lose a substantial part of your assets. Earlier in this century the only remedy against the insurance company was to file a breach of contract claim against the insurer. The insured, if the insured were to win, would be to receive only what the insurer promised to pay in the policy. The insurer was not responsible for punitive damages or liability for the insured’s emotional distress. Today, the courts of California treat these unfair claim practices as a tort and give the insured the opportunity of recovering tort remedies against the insurer for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. While most causes for breach of the covenant still lies in contracts, an exception can be made under contracts involving a “special relationship”, characterized by elements of public interest, adhesion, and fiduciary responsibility. The insurance contact contains all of these elements. At the first sign that your insurer is improperly refusing to pay, or is delaying retaining an attorney on your behalf, consult with an attorney who practices in insurance law. The faster you advise your insurer that you are willing to pursue your legal remedies, the faster your insurer will honor its obligations under the contract. To contact me, you may email me at email@example.com, find me at www.nemlawyer.com, or call me at 562-799-1379, to discuss the particulars of your concerns or case.
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