Summary: Charter Oak Insurance was punished for willfully deceiving a claimant about coverage for her UIM claim. Defendant Charter Oak was the commercial insurer of Billion Empire Motors, an auto dealership in South Dakota. Billion loaned a car to Peterson who had an accident that severely injured her passenger, Dziadek. Peterson had $100,000 worth of coverage for Dziadek. Charter Oaks’ claims representative contacted the lawyer for Dziadek and told him there was no coverage under the Charter Oak policy for under-insured motorists.
We cover current issues, highlights and best practices exclusively on claims of bad faith and extra contractual damages.
Summary: Andrews had a compensable work-related injury while working as a gold polisher for Ridco. Andrews sued Twin City Fire Insurance Co. (“Twin City”) and Ridco for the alleged bad faith handling of his worker’s compensation claim. During the course of that case, the circuit court ordered unredacted materials produced from nearly 200 claim files which Twin City claimed were protected under the attorney-client privilege. The Supreme Court of South Dakota reversed and remanded with directions.
Summary: Cindy Tripp and Andrea Bjornestad suffered injuries in separate car accidents. Each settled with the at-fault driver and then sought underinsured motorist benefits from their own insurance companies each of which offered to settle for less than the UIM limits and less than the value placed on the UIM claim by the company’s adjustor. After separate juries denied the tort-based bad faith claims, separate district court judges ruled that the carrier’s refusal to pay the amount demanded by the insured was “vexatious or without reasonable cause” and awarded statutory attorney fees. The Eighth Circuit affirmed.