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When you purchase liability insurance, the insurance company has a duty to defend you and pay a covered claim. All too often, insurance companies put their profits ahead of the contractual obligations owed to policyholders in violation of the duty to exercise good faith and fair dealing. 

The attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin, LLC have extensive experience handling insurance law issues, representing insureds – including individuals and businesses – in coverage disputes. Our services cover a broad range of insurance matters including claims for coverage under fire insurance and all risk policies, bad faith claims, insurance subrogation issues and COVID-19 business interruption claims.

Bad Faith Claims

Bad faith involves an insurer’s refusal to pay a claim without a reasonable basis or without properly investigating the claim in a timely manner. However, not every claim denial constitutes bad faith. To prove bad faith in Illinois, you must establish two elements: (1) that your insurance company delayed settling your claim, or refused to cover the full amount of your claimed loss; and (2) that the insurance company’s action was unreasonable. Below are a few examples of the most common bad faith claims:

  • Denying a Claim Without Reason

Insurance companies are required to give a reason for denying your claim. If your insurance company denies your valid claim and refuses to provide you with a reason, you may have a claim of bad faith.

  • Failing to Investigate

Insurance companies have a duty to conduct an adequate investigation after you file a claim. If the company fails to do this or conducts a highly intrusive investigation, they are acting in bad faith. 

  • Offering Less Money Than a Claim is Worth

Your insurance policy should cover the maximum amount under your policy if your claimed losses fall within that specific dollar amount. For example, if someone is involved in a car accident and has $10,000 in medical bills and the insurance company only offers to pay $2,000, this could amount to bad faith.

  • Misconstruing Policy Language

Insurance companies owe their insureds a duty of fair dealing, meaning they must always be truthful about their policy and what claims and losses are and are not covered. If your insurance company misrepresents what is covered and your valid claim is denied, you may have a claim. 

  • Refusing to Pay a Covered Claim

Insurance companies are in breach of their obligations and contract if they do not pay a valid claim. The insurance company may be liable for the bad faith breach.

  • Refusing Reasonable Requests for Documentation

You have a right to request supporting documents the insurance relied upon to in deciding to deny your claim. They should never refuse to provide you with policy documents.

Damages

Insurance companies are liable for damages if it is determined they acted in bad faith in denying your claim. Depending on the state, the damages available to you vary. In Illinois, bad faith damages include:

  • Economic Loss;
  • Attorney Fees; and
  • Punitive Damages.

If you believe that your insurance company has acted in bad faith in denying your claim, contact our experienced insurance coverage litigation attorneys at Romanucci & Blandin. We have extensive experience holding insurance companies accountable.

COVID-19 Business Interruption Losses

In 2020, a staggering number of restaurants, retail and service businesses have suffered losses related to government-ordered shut downs for non-essential businesses. Insurance companies have unilaterally denied these claims and, in turn, denied these businesses vital financial support at the time they have needed it most. Our legal team is comprised of some of the country’s most highly regarded experts in business interruption litigation, who will review your business insurance policy and provide a strategy on how to access to the claim money your business is due.

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