Consumers purchase insurance policies to guard against economic losses arising from personal injuries or property damages, or the possibility of a lawsuit that will result in losses. In exchange for paying premiums, a policyholder is owed contractual duties by the insurer. This includes a duty to provide coverage, a duty to uphold the terms of the policy, and pay any valid claims that are covered by the policy. All insurance companies also owe an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing.
However, insurance companies don’t always pay out on claims when they should. Sometimes, insurers deny claims, underpay claims, and delay payment to policyholders.
When unjustifiable denials, underpayments and delays take place, despite your valid claim, the insurance company is acting in bad faith.
Insurance bad faith practices can include:
Refusal to investigate claims thoroughly, properly, and in a timely manner
Unreasonable delay in payment / slow payment, or stall tactics
Refusal to pay the full value of a claim
Unreasonable claim denials
Unreasonable interpretation of policy language
In North Carolina, policyholders can recover significant punitive or treble (triple) damages if they are able to prove bad faith. Our State recognizes both traditional common law claims of bad faith and also has a robust statutory scheme to hold insurance companies accountable.
Partner Robert Jessup has handled many bad faith claims arising from denied homeowners and commercial property damage claims (caused by fires, hurricanes, tornados, and windstorms).
He has also represented judgment creditors who owed significant amounts of money from verdicts entered in lawsuits which their insurance companies refused to reasonably settle.
In North Carolina, most bad faith claims we see arise from property damage during storms, particularly hurricanes. Therefore, we have created this page, Hurricane Insurance Claims 101.