When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, what people in Jacksonville may tend to dread most is the waiting game. They have to wait to learn if their expenses have been covered or denied, and then wait to hear about the results of any follow-up action that is required. The main reason behind their worry is they know that every day that passes without a resolution to their claim, the filing deadlines that their insurers pose creep closer. What they may not know is that insurers actually use this as a tactic to facilitate claim denials.
Insurance companies do not stay afloat by paying out on every claim, yet they cannot deny claims without a valid reason either. Having a filing deadline pass gives them that reason. They can blame subscribers or service providers for not acting promptly, when in reality, the delays may have been intentionally caused on their end.
This fits the definition of operating in bad faith. Section 624.155 of the Florida State Statutes lists failing to promptly settle claims as a violation of the law by an insurer. Coverage providers can employ any number of stalling tactics, including over-investigating a claim, delaying issuing accident reports and coverage notices, or failing to contact subscribers on prompt or frequent basis. If challenged on any of these points, insurance representatives may answer that individually they had no effect on the subscriber’s failure to meet timely filing deadlines.
Fortunately, local legal authorities have been able to see through these practices. In 1995 ruling, the Supreme Court of Florida stated that allegations of bad faith are to be viewed against the totality of the circumstances surrounding a claim. This prevents an insurer from delaying one aspect of a claim’s resolution in order to justify a denial.