Bad Faith

If you have filed an insurance claim in Florida for personal property damage, car damage from an auto accident, damage to your home, condo or rental property, or property damage arising from a natural disaster or other catastrophic accident, your insurance company is required by law to act in good faith. If the insurance company violates any of their duties, they may be acting in bad faith. Bad faith can occur in many types of insurance claims, including, but not limited to:

  • Auto Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Homeowner’s Insurance
  • General Liability Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Renter’s Insurance
  • Condominium Insurance

Tampa Bad Faith Lawyer

Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 for a consultation about your bad faith insurance claims in Tampa, Florida. Attorney Michael B. Germain is knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s insurance law and experienced with bad faith insurance company claims.

Germain Law Group, P.A. diligently represents clients in all bad faith insurance claims, including automobile or car insurance, health insurance, property insurance, and more.

Call the Germain Law Group today about your insurance claim breach of duty throughout the areas in Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Temple Terrace, Sun City Center, Lithia, Plant City, and Hunters Green.

Tampa Bad Faith Information Center

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Bad Faith Defined in Florida

Bad faith by an insurance company in Florida is defined under section 624.155 of the Florida Statutes as not attempting to settle claims in good faith or acting under all the circumstances dishonestly or unfairly towards the insured.

An insurance company acts in bad faith if it makes claim payments to the insured that is not accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under which payments are being made.

Bad faith by an insurance company also occurs if the insurer fails to promptly settle claims when the obligation to settle a claim has become reasonably clear under the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage.

An insurance company also acts in bad faith if it performs any impermissible acts in the following provisions of the Florida Statutes:

  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(i) – Engages in unfair claim settlement practices;
  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(o) – Illegal dealings in premiums;
  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9541(1)(x) – Refusal to insure for discriminatory reasons;
  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9551 – Requirements to have a certain agent or insurer not permitted;
  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9705 – Illegal dealings for life or disability insurance based on a disability;
  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9706 – Discrimination based on sickle-cell trait for life insurance;
  • Fla. Stat. § 626.9707 – Discrimination based on sickle-cell trait for disability insurance; or
  • Fla. Stat. § 627.7283 – Return of premium for canceled insurance policies required.

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Civil Remedy Provided for Policyholders in Florida

According to Fla. Sta. § 624.155, any person may bring a civil action against an insurer when the insurer has violated certain provisions of the Florida Statutes, or if the insurance company performs certain acts that are unreasonable or dishonest. This means if an insurance company acts in bad faith in any aspect in regards to the insurance policy the policyholder or person who was entitled to receive something from the insurance company for any property damage can sue the insurer for damages.

In May 2011, SB 408 was signed into law in Florida and changed the statute of limitations to five years for bringing a breach of property insurance claim. This means if an individual wants to file a bad faith claim against their insurance company, they only have five years to do so or their claim will be null and void. Additionally, the statute of limitations on these claims now starts running from the date of loss as opposed to the date of breach.

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Examples of Bad Faith Acts in Florida

There are a variety of ways an insurance company can act in bad faith toward the insured. The most common situation arising in bad faith claims is if your insurance company fails to pay your settlement check in a timely manner.

Bad faith can also occur in situations where the insurance company attempts to settle your claim with a low offer or in an amount far below what you are entitled to.

Another common bad faith situation is if your insurance company denies coverage for a claim that is included in the policy and should have been paid without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Bad faith situations also arise when the insurance company fails to adopt and implement standards for the proper investigation of claims, fails to communicate promptly with respect to claims, and/or misrepresents important facts or insurance policy provisions relating to the coverage at issue.

Under Fla. Stat. § 627.4265, insurance companies are required to pay a settlement claim no later than 20 days after the settlement has been agreed upon in writing by the policyholder and the insurer. If an insurance company fails to do so, they may be acting in bad faith.

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Damages Allowed for Bad Faith Insurance Claims

If an insurance company refuses to pay your claim or delays payment, you may be eligible to sue for damages because the insurance company acted in bad faith. You are entitled to the full benefits of your insurance policy, no matter the type of insurance policy.

If your insurance company has acted in bad faith, you may be entitled damages in addition or court costs and attorney’s fees. Also, if the insurance company acts in a willful, wanton and malicious manner or in reckless disregard for the rights of the insured or a beneficiary under a life insurance contract, the insured may be entitled to receive punitive, or punishment, damages.

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Tampa Bad Faith Insurance Claims Resources

Florida Office of Insurance Regulation – The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation serves the state’s citizens by regulating and enforcing statutes related to the insurance business in Florida.

Florida Statutes Online – Civil Remedy – This website provides links to Chapter 624 of Title XXXVII of the Florida Statutes, entitled “Insurance,” which contains the state’s rules about civil remedies when insurance companies act in bad faith. The specific section is Fla. Stat. § 624.155.

Florida Statutes Online – This link is to Chapter 626 of Title XXXVII of the Florida Statutes, also known as Unfair Insurance Trade Practices, which contains many provisions insurance companies are not permitted to violate without acting in bad faith.

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Germain Law Group, P.A. | Bad Faith Attorney in Tampa

Contact the Germain Law Group today for a consultation about your bad faith insurance claim in Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Polk County, Hernando County, Citrus County, and Sumter County.

Michael B. Germain is an experienced Tampa insurance lawyer who will listen to the facts of your situation and help you determine the best recourse in pursuing your bad faith claim. Contact the Germain Law Group at (813) 835-8888 or submit an online form for a consultation about your insurance claim in Central Florida.