Why Insurance Bad Faith Is More Likely To Happen To Professionals
When you buy individual disability insurance, you expect your insurance company will act in good faith if you need to file a claim. However, it’s very common for bad faith – also known as an insurance company’s attempt to delay or deny payment on a legitimate claim – to occur, especially when the claimant is a highly skilled professional. Here are three reasons why.
Common bad faith tactics
- Discouraging the policyholder by slow paying or delaying the payment of benefits
- Failing to fully and fairly investigate claims in a timely manner with an eye towards payment
- Using an improper or hidden denial standard to deny a claim
- Using harassment or “beating down” the claimant’s strategy to keep a claim from being paid
- Requiring excessive or unnecessary claim information
- Using abusive or coercive tactics to settle or whittle down a legitimate claim
- Failing to explain each and every applicable policy exclusions or provisions
- Intimidating or misinforming a policyholder of their rights under their policy
Insurance companies make assumptions about “desk jobs.”
By definition, desk jobs – also known as sedentary work – are positions in which you sit for at least two-thirds of the day. Although sedentary jobs don’t require much physical exertion, they also involve non-exertional activities, which include:
- Using fingers and hands to manipulate, reach, or handle objects
- Seeing, speaking or hearing
- Paying attention or concentrating
- Understanding or remembering detailed instructions
Unfortunately, insurance companies may deliberately ignore your cognitive and non-exertional job requirements in evaluating your occupation. It is extremely important to arm your treating doctors with all the pertinent information needed to answer the carrier’s questions about your occupational demands – both physical and mental.
Do you have questions about your claim? Schedule a free consultation.
Professionals are less likely to fight a wrongful denial.
This is especially true when you’re already beaten down by a disabling illness or injury and trying to fathom how to defeat a billion-dollar insurance company.
If you have a healthy savings account, you may weigh the costs and benefits of fighting a wrongful denial and decide it’s not worth the stress and emotional upheaval. After all, you may not become financially destitute if the insurance benefits are wrongfully denied. Insurance companies count on a certain percentage of people just giving up; they’re automatic “wins” for the carrier.
Professionals get less-than-perfect advice from well-intentioned people.
When you are faced with decisions about their insurance claim, it may not occur to you to consult an insurance bad faith attorney. Instead, you may ask your tax preparer, accountant, financial advisor, or family lawyer.
Although these people mean well, they are generally not as familiar with the subtleties in the application process, policy restrictions, exclusions and limitations, and common claims delay and denial strategies. Without the help of an insurance bad faith attorney, you may make fatal claim mistakes that ensure a denial of benefits.
What to do in case of bad faith
If your insurance company has acted in bad faith, you can – and should – take legal action to recover the benefits that are rightfully yours. Disability insurers that act in bad faith may be liable for additional damages, such as:
- All of the contract damages
- Emotional distress
- Extra-contractual damages for stained credit, bankruptcies or repossessions
- Punitive damages
- Recovery of attorney’s fees
However, many claimants miss the opportunity to recover these damages because they don’t realize they have a bad faith claim. An experienced bad faith disability insurance attorney can help you determine what legal recourse you may have.
Do you have questions about your individual disability insurance claim? Contact a top-rated bad faith disability insurance attorney for a free consultation.