Most Americans know the value of getting insurance. Insurance provides protection against loss of income or large expenditure in the event of unfortunate events. In a general motor or property insurance claim, the policyholder typically gets paid a sum equal to the estimated amount damage in case of damage or loss to his car or property. The premium paid for insurance is small compared to the proceeds that the policyholder may have the possibility of receiving because insurance works under the premise of “risk sharing”. This concept simply means that enough people buy a certain insurance while the probable loss of insured property or life is small such that the insurance company can pay the estimated amount of damage and still continue to do business.
Sounds like a fair enough proposition, right? Unfortunately a number of insurance companies (or their marketing agents) may be engaged in unfair practices. It is precisely because insurance is a matter of public interest that California has enacted legislation to protect consumers. For example, Insurance Code section 790.03(h) defines a number of acts by an insurance company which may be prejudicial to the insured especially when he is expecting to receive a fair settlement from a claim. Common unfair practices include: a company misrepresenting pertinent provisions in any insurance policy so as to deny or minimize the claim; foot-dragging by an insurance in acting in a claim; failure to settle a claim promptly even if the loss has been proven; and advising a claimant not to seek the advice of an insurance defense attorney. In sum, these bad faith denial of coverage actions are not only wrong, they are actionable and expose insurance companies to lawsuits that our firm is ready to and has successfully taken to litigation in court.
In California, when a person files for a claim, seeking the help of an insurance defense attorney should be a claimant’s first order of business. Without a lawyer’s help, a claimant may find himself in an even more difficult situation. Your lawyer will advise you to provide all of your supporting documents, which include: copies of the declaration page of your insurance policy, notifications of claim denials, and other pertinent papers.
When your insurance company sees that you mean action, its representatives may then want to try and resolve your concerns. Even with the supporting documents at your hand, you should not rush right into the California Department of Insurance (DOI) for your complaint.
If you fail to obtain an initial settlement with the insurance company, then you may try to obtain a request for assistance from the DOI. In doing so, you must indicate to the DOI that you will take care of forwarding the request for assistance to the representatives of the insurance company yourself. You would best serve your interests if you have a skilled insurance defense attorney at your side. It is bad enough that you may not be getting the settlement due to you – or that you may not be getting it soon enough; it is worse that you are facing a phalanx of professional lawyers who look out for for the interest of the insurance company.
You may also me entitled to a private attorney, called “Cumis counsel”, which is very helpful to understand the suggestions of the insurance companies attorney. The unique idea of Cumis Counsel is that their fee is paid by the insurance company, but you are entitled to choose your own attorney to provide this service. We humbly suggest you consider our office when making this decision.
A good lawyer will assist you to even the playing field. An even better one gets results. Call on our office to take the right steps.
466 W. Fallbrook,
Fresno, CA 93711
T: (559) 431-4888
F: (559) 821-4500
San Diego Branch:
10509 Vista Sorrento Pkwy., Suite 430
San Diego, CA 92121
T: (619) 399-7700
F: (619) 819-8400
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