Last week, we addressed the many different ways in which insurance companies try to sidestep payouts on legitimate losses and damages incurred by their very own customers.
In many — if not most — cases, these claimants are families and individuals who have faithfully paid their insurance premiums on time and who have never filed any other claims.
In one real-life* example of an actual case that our firm handled, a woman lost her home and possessions in a house fire. She reported this in a timely manner to the major insurance company responsible for issuing rental and homeowner's insurance to nearly 38 million households in the United States, as of last spring (the most recent figure that is available).
Ms. D. C. lost everything in the fire. She wanted to work with her insurance company of a half-decade. She remembered how the company's TV commercials portrayed their insurance agents offering comfort and ready solutions to their clients after a disaster.
She provided the insurance adjuster with everything that was requested. In her case, this included a statement the adjuster asked her to record while she was still reeling from the devastating fire.
Instead of assisting her with reassembling what remained of her life by paying out her timely-filed legitimate claim, this insurance company subjected their very own client to a grueling, six-hour deposition, under oath.
Imagine six hours of answering questions under oath about what was likely one of the most traumatic events you ever endured.
After she submitted her personal property inventory, she got this response from her insurance company:
"We have not determined whether the loss should be paid."
Then they tried to ignore her attempts to reverse this denial and unforgivable payment of the claim for close to eight weeks.
This very nice and reasonable woman's limits had now been reached and breached. When she contacted our office, we responded with urgency, filing litigation in Clay Circuit Court that asked for, among other things, compensatory and punitive damages.
After refiling our client's petition in the Eastern Division of the United States District Court, we deposed her insurance agent and requested other information in a legal process known as "discovery."
This nationally known insurance company didn't even extend a settlement offer to their former client of five years.
Lack of a settlement offer doesn't deter the attorneys at Ewing & Willis. While we are always prepared to walk confidently into court and methodically lay out a client's case to the jury or judge, the above case was resolved to our client's satisfaction in a confidential mediated settlement.
*Name and identifying details have been altered