Insurance Bad Faith
Bad faith claims arise when a company with whom you have a contract fails to act within the terms of that contract. In the case of your insurance company, this may happen if it fails to promptly or properly defend or pay a claim. An insurance company has a duty to deal fairly with its customers, giving equal consideration to its insured customers and its own interest. Whenever your insurance company fails to honor its obligations in its contract with you, you may have a claim for bad faith. An insurance company is required to investigate all claims and find out information about anything that might support their insured’s claim. Bad faith in Kansas is very different than other states and is usually called negigence.
Insurance contracts are written to reflect current law. Known terms which seem self-evident to the insured may actually have special interpretations to the insurance company and not to the insured. All insurance contracts are interpreted in a court to carry out the reasonable expectations of the insured party. The contract will be studied to obtain its meaning, and such meaning must be clear and unmistakable. Generally, any terms which are not clear will be interpreted to benefit the insured. You do not have to prove that the company intended to cause harm, only that they failed to honor their agreement and had no cause not to pay the claim.
Insurance Fraud Cases
The term “Insurance Fraud” often brings to mind the insurance claimant who manufactures or fakes an injury in order to bilk an insurance company. However, in the context of “Mass” and “Class” legal actions, it is the insurance company that is accused of committing the fraud and bilking the insured, not the other way around.
One area that has been ripe for mass legal action is what is known as the “Vanishing Premium” case. These cases involve customers being falsely told that if they make their premium payments for a certain amount of time (for example, 10 years) they never have to make any other premium payments and the policies will pay for themselves at that point, or that premiums on universal life policies are “fixed”, when in fact the premiums will require increases in order to maintain the policy in later years.
Many major companies have been involved in lawsuits over these types of allegations.
Race-based Premium Discrimination
Another area ripe for mass legal action involves the sale of race-based insurance premiums. During the 1930’s through the 1970’s, many insurance companies engaged in the shameful practice of charging “race-based insurance premiums” on so-called “burial policies” and/or “industrial life policies”. This reprehensible practice involved a national scheme to unlawfully charge African Americans higher insurance premiums based solely on the color of their skin.
If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Ray Hodge & Associates at (316)269-1414. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we recover money on your behalf. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your rights.
Ray Hodge & Associates proudly represents victims and their families across the state of Kansas, including Wichita, Andover, Derby, Goddard, Haysville, Mulvane, Rose Hill, Newton, El Dorado and Hutchinson. Call today for a free consultation all over the state of Kansas. We have proudly served clients in Sedgwick, Butler, Sumner, Harvey, Kingman and Reno Counties.