JSH Reporter Summer 2015 - Page 31

BADFAITHARTICLE 031 6. Savings Try to make the underwriting department look good by underpaying claims or making low-ball offers to improve the loss ratio of the Company. The CEO will be impressed and give you a big raise and stock options. 5. Surprise Don’t inquire as to the experience of defense counsel. I mean, we all started somewhere. It’s much more fun to find out after an adverse result that the attorney for the insured never tried this type of case before. 4. Bias Make it appear that the insurance company is looking for a way not to pay the claim. Later you can convince the jury that it was just a coincidence that everything you highlighted or underlined in the file was adverse to the insured’s interest. 3. Prejudgment (see also bias) This one is so good I had to bring it up again. Investigations will go quicker and you will save time if you first come up with a theory and then do only the investigation necessary to support your theory (i.e., fire = arson). 2. Reservation of Rights Do it early and often. More is better. The longer you can string cite provisions of the policy, the stronger your basis for denial. Damron and Morris agreements should not be feared...so what if the insured stipulates to a $1 million judgment on a $15,000 policy?! 1. Delay Everyone knows that if you wear down the insured you pay less on the claim. The jury will not hold it against you in a bad faith trial. They simply see this as a game. Call the insured at lunchtime. Call them at home when you know they are at work. Whenever possible, mail letters. This gives you additional time which will help in accomplishing the objectives set forth in number 6 above. I hope you enjoyed my attempt to put a little humor into reminding us all what obligations exist in complying with the duties of good faith and fair dealing. Although rephrased to be funny, all of these scenarios are taken from actual cases. Needless to say, such conduct can produce significant hurdles in defending a bad faith case. It can also prove to be detrimental to an adjuster’s health and overall longevity. JSH RESOURCE ALERT! JSH Law and Case Alerts The JSH Law and Case Alerts are periodic publications that provide reviews of recent court decisions. In order to provide these Alerts to our clients in a more timely manner, we have recently changed how our Alerts are distributed. Rather than saving them all for a singular monthly distribution, we are now publishing Law and Case Alerts individually, within 48 hours of the case’s original publication date. These are sent to our clients via email, posted to our website and distributed via social media. To be added to our email distribution list, please send an email to marketing@jshfirm.com. Archives of past Law Alerts are available at www.jshfirm.com/publications and www.jshfirm.com/casesofnote. Reference Guide to AZ Law Our JSH Reference Guide to Arizona Law is published each year and is