Mansell, Engel & Cole

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.

Indeed, most homeowner policy claims are reserved for events that yield truly material dislocations. Structural collapse certainly fits the bill. So does a roof heavily damaged by wind or a severe pummeling from hail, the gutting of a dwelling from a fire, or water-linked damage.

Oklahomans are well acquainted with severe weather, and simply don’t waste time and effort making insurance claims for most things unrelated to it. We note on our pro-policyholders’ insurance law website at Mansell, Engel & Cole in Oklahoma City a bedrock point concerning Oklahoma claim filings. We state that “80-90 percent of all homeowners insurance claims involve damage from tornadoes, hails and violent storms.”

We duly accompany that point with acknowledgment of the “other disasters” (like flooding) that commonly arise in Oklahoma and “require an insurance company to fulfill its duties and provide financial relief.”

It is certainly no secret that insurers sometimes balk at that and even act in reactionary and bad-faith ways when presented with clearly legitimate home-linked claims.

Such a response is illegal as well as unethical, and should never be tolerated by any policyholder. An insurance contract creates reciprocal obligations that mandate full performance by both an insured and an insurer.

When the latter fails to contractually perform as required, an aggrieved policyholder can turn to a proven insurance law legal team for candid guidance and aggressive legal representation.

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