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Bad Faith Blog

We cover current issues, highlights and best practices exclusively on claims of bad faith and extra contractual damages.

Bad Faith Blog
November 5, 2019

Georgia Court of Appeals Reiterates that a Verdict Significantly Exceeding the Policy Limits, Alone, Is Not Bad Faith Conduct

The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for GEICO and held that there was no evidence of a frivolous and unfounded refusal to pay its insured’s demand for the $25,000.00 limit of her underinsured motorist policy, which was needed to support a bad faith claim brought under Ga. Code Ann. § 33-7-11(j) (failure to pay within sixty days of demand). The court found that GEICO timely and thoroughly investigated the claim upon receipt of the demand letter. A later jury verdict against the underinsured motorist greatly exceeding the $25,000.00 policy limit alone was insufficient to establish that an insurer acted in bad faith.

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Bad Faith Blog
June 17, 2019

Colorado Supreme Court Holds Insurers Must Evaluate and Pay Each Separate UM/UIM Component or Risk-Prompt Payment Penalties

The Supreme Court of Colorado, interpreting the state’s prompt-payment statute which provides that an insurer “shall not unreasonably delay or deny payment of a claim for benefits owed to or on behalf of any first-party [insured] claimant,” held that an insurer violated the statute when it withheld payment for undisputed medical expenses on the basis of the presence of separate disputed payments. 

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Bad Faith Blog
May 15, 2019

Colorado Excess Insurance Carrier’s Equitable Subrogation Claim Against Primary Carrier for Refusal to Settle Required Allegations and Proof of Bad Faith

The Colorado Court of Appeals held that an excess carrier asserting an equitable subrogation claim against a primary insurer for a failure to settle a claim within the primary carrier’s liability limits steps into the shoes of the insured, and must plead and prove bad faith to recover against a primary carrier for failing to settle. In the underlying case, a medical malpractice suit was filed against a physician with two separate professional liability policies.

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Bad Faith Blog
March 29, 2019

Insurer Loses Bad Faith Summary Judgment for Ignoring the Opposing Medical Expert’s Opinions

The Washington Court of Appeals held that an insurer’s refusal to consider the causation opinion of its insured’s equally qualified expert could be bad faith conduct. In the underlying case, State Farm’s insured was involved in a car accident where she was rear-ended and suffered neck and back injuries. The rear-ending at fault driver had only a $25,000 liability limit to split between three injured parties. 

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Bad Faith Blog
September 24, 2017

Montana Supreme Court: $300,000 Consent Judgment Proper

Summary: The seller of a home was insured under a Homeowner’s Policy and a Renter’s Policy issued by United Services Automobile Association (USAA). Past basement problems, including flooding, were not disclosed by the seller. The basement flooded after the buyer took possession, and buyer sued the seller. After USAA denied coverage, the parties reached a settlement wherein a consent judgment was entered for $300,000 in favor of Huckins in the underlying case and Huckins then filed suit against USAA for breach of the duty to defend Van Sickle, breach of contract, common law and statutory bad faith, and punitive damages. The District Court held that USAA had not breached its duty to defend, as the claim was not an “occurrence,” and the buyer appealed. The Montana Supreme Court reversed and held USAA had a duty to defend under the renter’s policy.

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