Bad Faith Insurance Companies
Insurance companies have long ago learned that the surest way to earn money is to deny rightful claims. And the next best thing to denying a claim is to delay paying the claim. That way they get to use the beneficiary's money longer or take it from him/her entirely.
Life insurance companies expect their rates to be set by government agencies on the assumption that just claims will be paid promptly. When life insurance pays slowly, partially, or not at all, companies rake in profits to which the law never make them entitled.
Some insurers will try the deny, deny in part, or delay tactic to see if they can get away with it. Sadly, they often do.
They will payment unreasonably claiming they are investigating medical records. They will extensively search the claimant's medical history to find insignificant and immaterial detail which they claim was withheld from the insured's medical history. Then they will tender a return of the premiums to the beneficiary, and if they take it, the matter is closes. The insurance company wins due to his bad faith denial of the claim.
North Carolina provides in Chapter 58 of the North Carolina General Statues that an insurance company must pay reasonably promptly any claim which is reasonably due. A violation of this law can give rise to a claim of bad faith and constructive fraud against the insurance company and is by definition an unfair and deceptive insurance practice. Damages may include the amount unpaid by the bad faith insurance carrier. The court may be required to asses treble damages on the unpaid amount and may add attorney fees as well. A successful claim for constructive fraud (breach of fiduciary duty) may give rise to punitive damages if egregious enough. If a jury returns a verdict for the beneficiary on both claims the Plaintiff may choose between the verdicts, whichever is more.
With out-of-state insurers we often find violations with the North Carolina Department of Insurance which make these cases even stronger.
If the life insurance companies denies or delays or tries to pay only in part, the beneficiary should not accept the lesser amount or sign any forms accepting the amount offered. They should immediately consult counsel skilled and experienced in trying jury cases in this area of the law.
At Bowen and Berry, PLLC, we have never represented an insurance company, nor will we. We represent only claimants, not only against insurance companies wrongly withholding insurance payments from victims of automobile, motorcycle, and truck accidents and injuries but also against insurance companies who deal in bad faith with their policyholders and their beneficiaries.
Fight back. Seek justice. Know your rights. Don't accept money or sign anything sent you by the insurance company until you fully understand what they are doing to you.