Mansell, Engel & Cole

Yes, insurers responding to a claim sometimes do … nothing

Here's a for-real business strategy employed by many insurance companies in response to policyholders' bona-fide coverage claims, as sadly evidenced quite often in media reports across the country: simply do nothing until compelled to do so.

Although that might seem questionable to many of our readers in Oklahoma and elsewhere, it is actually a tried-and-true formula that often leads to success for some entities that are routinely willing to walk a line that borders on -- and, candidly, often strays over into -- bad faith.

Doing nothing -- that is, delaying -- can lead to a number of favorable outcomes for an insurer. Here are just a couple:

  • Driving a policyholder to such desperation that a payment for less value is accepted; and
  • Keeping what is owed in interest-bearing accounts until it ultimately has to be paid to a customer

A recent story from another state (yet easily capable of repetition in Oklahoma and other locales) underscores the frustration of an insured who filed a legitimate payment claim for property damages suffered more than nine months ago.

His insurer's response: silence. No payment, no denial … nothing.

That behavior has rightly resulted in a lawsuit alleging breach of contract.

An insurer's total lack of performance in the manner cited above should never be tolerated by any policyholder. An insured party who is faithfully performing under a contract has a reasonable right to expect timely and full performance from an insurer equally tasked to do so.

If that doesn't happen for you as an aggrieved insured, solicit prompt assistance from proven insurance attorneys who will fully hold a non-performing insurer to account.

You duly honor your side of the bargain in an insurance contract. It is both ethically and legally incumbent upon the insurer you are dealing with to do the same.

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