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What is an insurance company’s duty to defend the insured?  

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Insurance Disputes

Commercial property owners and store owners in Oklahoma need to open up their property to customers, employees and others. They rely on these people for their business to be profitable and successful. At various times though, like with any property, things can break or other situations can arise that create unsafe conditions for the people on the property. If the customers or others that have been invited onto the property hurt themselves on the unsafe condition, the property owner could face a lawsuit.

These lawsuits can be very costly and detrimental for the property owners. These potential lawsuits are one of the reasons that commercial property insurance is so important. Many commercial property insurance policies cover the costs of the potential damages in these lawsuits. However, the insurance company generally has more responsibility than just paying the potential damages arising from the lawsuit.

Insurance companies must defend against some lawsuits

Insurance companies also generally have a duty to defend their clients. This means that they must provide the representation to respond to and defend their insured from the claims filed against them. This representation can be sometimes just as important as paying for the damages.

There are instances when insurance companies may refuse to defend their client though. This would be a violation of many insurance policies and the property owner may have a dispute with the insurance company over whether they are obligated to defend them. This can very frustrating and stressful as the property owner is also dealing with the lawsuit.

Business owners in Oklahoma have many responsibilities as they run their businesses. Much of their focus is on what they know and that is ensuring the business is run correctly and smoothly. They do not want to have to focus on insurance claims and finding representation for lawsuits brought against them. Experienced attorneys understand the various obligations insurance companies have to their clients and may be able to hold the insurance companies accountable when they do not uphold these responsibilities.