Mansell, Engel & Cole

Oklahoma City Insurance Law Blog

Just how common, serious are Oklahoma insurance disputes?

Aggrieved Oklahoma insurance policyholders don’t live in a vacuum, of course, but they understandably have a limited picture regarding their claim disputes with insurers.

That is, they have don’t command a firm grasp concerning where their claim resides on a continuum of singular-versus-common. Is their complaint focused on some concern that few other policyholders readily share and can instantly identify with? Conversely, might they think their unresolved issue is a rarity, when in fact it a widely shared problem among policyholders?

Disasters loom large in insurance claims, disputes

Insured parties in Oklahoma and elsewhere seldom go through the hassle of making policyholder claims for arguably trivial losses.

The reasons why are obvious. There are deductibles and other expenses to contend with, as well as inevitable bureaucratic consequences to deal with (e.g, forms to fill out, time spent on the phone, potential differences of opinion with contractors and adjustors and more). The detriment often exceeds the benefit for a policyholder where a claim attaches to anything less than a serious loss.

Policyholders in the middle in insurer-provider disputes

We suspect that most readers of our Oklahoma pro-policyholders’ insurance law blog have heard disturbing stories about unforeseen medical charges. Many of you have perhaps been presented with unexpected health care bills.

State legislators and national lawmakers duly note that. The publication Consumer Reports notes that “protections from surprise medical bills are gaining momentum around the country and on Capitol Hill.”

What is prior authorization, and why do doctors hate it?

There's an elephant in doctors' offices in Oklahoma and nationally, and doctors just can't make it leave the room.

They desperately want to do so. It unduly interferes with timely and sensible treatment their patients need - sometimes desperately, without delay. And it literally takes days of their time each week, requiring them to focus on paperwork and administrative tasks that are far removed from care delivery.

When is it appropriate to sue an insurance company?

When you pay for insurance coverage, you expect that that the insurance company will do what you are paying it to do – provide protection in the event of an emergency. If you file a valid claim for something covered by your insurance company, failure to meet the terms of the contract is insurance bad faith. In some circumstances, this is grounds to file a civil claim against the provider.

If you need to file a claim with your insurance company, you are probably dealing with some type of emergency situation. Perhaps you suffered significant property damage in a car accident, or a storm led to serious damage to your home. No matter what your situation entails, you have the right to fight for the insurance payment necessary to cover your losses and get the repairs you need.

Consequences pile up in aftermath of recent storm activity

Oklahoma has unquestionably been the epicenter of powerful storms that have ripped across wide corridors of the United States in recent weeks.

State residents are well accustomed to violent swings of weather. What has transpired recently is flatly notable, though. Large swaths of Oklahoma have been ravaged by tornadoes, flooding and “other storm-linked calamities” that we referenced in a recent blog post.

Recent VP visit underscores Oklahoma's storm-damage aftermath

There is no question that Oklahoma has been the epicenter of destruction wreaked by tornadoes, flooding and other storm-linked calamities across much of the United States in recent days.

Many of the state's eastern counties have been especially mauled, as evidenced by President Trump's declaration last week that several of them qualify for federal assistance as major disaster areas. Media accounts prominently spotlight Tulsa, Wagoner and Muskogee counties, among others. One representative report duly stresses that those locales "have been devastated by flooding, tornadoes and other severe storms."

Appellate court concurs: insurer unquestionably acted in bad faith

National insurer Geico should have quit when it was ahead. Arguably, that was when it could have formally settled a policyholder’s accident claim by writing a $50,000 check.

The company pursued another tack, though. Namely, it opted to counter the motor vehicle crash victim’s request for damages in that amount with a series of starkly lowball offerings termed “insulting” by his legal counsel. The first such offer was for a paltry $1,000.

Protecting against crop losses due to Oklahoma's hail storms

No matter where they are located, farms are often at the mercy of the weather. Here in Oklahoma, those risks include severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail.

All of these can be damaging to your crops, but when it comes to hail, you could lose everything. You may have heard about crop-hail insurance but don't know enough about it to see whether you should purchase it.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner acts in wake of severe weather

There is no question where Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready’s mindset is focused these days. Official statements from Mulready’s office stress that his department is strongly thinking about the welfare of Oklahoma insurance policyholders in the wake of a current spate of truly bad weather.

The “severe weather and flooding” underscored in a departmental bulletin issued late last week has led to a clear and uncompromising message delivered to insurance companies doing business across the state.

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