Category: Insurance lawyers

delay tactics

Delay Tactics: Is Your Insurance Company Using Them?

Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging even in the best of times. The laws are complex, coverage requirements can be difficult to understand, and the policy you end up with may seem like it is written in a different language altogether—especially if there are exclusions, riders, endorsements, and more to sift through. And then there are the premiums (rarely on the inexpensive side) that you must keep up with faithfully, fearing cancellation if even one is missed or late. Purchasing and maintaining coverage may seem like an odious task but as consumers in the US, we usually fulfill these responsibilities to protect our families, ourselves, our possessions, livelihoods, and more.

The insurance industry rakes in billions of dollars each year, but they don’t always have a happy following of clients, and many are outspoken and critical to say the least. Most of us don’t enjoy buying a product that is intangible for the most part—and may feel like it is a complete waste of money to pay for years on end when you never even have to file a claim. If that has been your experience, you may be extremely frustrated when the time does come to file a claim and your insurance company is giving you the runaround. Undoubtedly, you are comparing their millions or billions of dollars in net worth with what you have and wondering why they feel the need to treat faithful customers so poorly—you included.

Insurance companies may use delay tactics such as disputing enormous bills that you need paid in the claim; for example, if you were in a car accident and the insurance company for the negligent party is supposed to pay out, they may dispute medical bills or scrutinize how long it took you to get treatment—eventually using that as a reason to drag their feet on even deny the claim altogether.

The reason they do so is built on a simple, but extremely profitable, business model: put as little time and effort into claims and investigations as possible and pay out as little as possible. Nearly everyone working in the insurance industry is enticed by bonuses and additional compensation—and this goes for adjusters too, who understand that the less the large corporations have to pay out, they more they can make too. Knowing that they are completely in the driver’s seat if you do not have legal representation, the insurance company may also delay just to wear you down into accepting a smaller settlement.

In the midst of such delays, remember that the adjustors are not your friends. They are there to save the insurance company as much as possible regarding claims. Beware of their attempts to speak to you instead of your attorney, as well as requesting access to medical records and asking if they can tape your conversations. They may also tell you to relax when it comes to hiring an attorney—why would you need one when you can work out a settlement with them all on your own? The fact is that you do need legal representation to see that you receive the compensation you deserve. Don’t try to go it alone, and especially if you think the insurance company might be acting in good faith.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

claims made policies

Claims Made Policies and Occurrence Policies: The Differences

If you own an insurance policy (or two or three…), chances are it is either an occurrence or claims made policy. And as a business owner or a professional, when you begin working with an insurance agent to explore different policies, it is extremely important to know the differences and understand which will work best for you in terms of liability protection so that your livelihood is protected.

Protect Yourself as a Business Owner or Professional

Being in business for yourself offers so many rewards. You have the freedom to follow your dreams, control to develop your own products and services and innovations, create the schedule you want for yourself (and your team too), and perhaps even make a significant impact within your own industry. Along with that, you may have daily contact with the public and a growing client base. While that can be incredibly rewarding—and especially if you feel like you are making a difference in their lives—there may also be instances where you need protection; for example, if someone is injured on your property and you do not have the proper liability insurance in place, you could be completely drained financially trying to pay for the damages yourself.

Occurrence Policies

With an occurrence policy in place, coverage is provided as long as the incident happened while your policy was in force—and even if it is reported later (yet still establishing a date within the policy coverage period), you should still be covered. That applies even if once the incident that occurred during the policy period has later been canceled when the claim is made. To be clear, let’s say you had a policy in force from 2015-2016. Obviously, it has since been canceled, but a claim was just brought forth regarding a liability issue from 2016. The occurrence policy should cover it—and most general liability is written this way.

The Claims-Made Policy

The claims-made policy introduces some other nuances, however. You must have been continually insured when a claim was brought forth, and although the incident may have occurred outside of the coverage period, it is covered if the claim is brought forth while your policy is in effect. It is also possible to buy further insurance referred to as a ‘tail.’ This offers extended coverage is a claim is reported after the claims-made policy has been terminated. While this type of coverage is helpful for many professionals, and often for doctors, it is not available to everyone. Dealing with claims could be complex later too.

Contact Us for Help Now

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

insurance topics

Insurance Topics: Defining Bad Faith

When you purchase an insurance policy, there may be many complexities within the policy and the outlined details of coverage, but one thing is simple: you are paying established premiums to the insurance company in exchange for financial protection if something goes wrong; for example, if you have an automobile accident, you expect the insurance company (or the insurer of the other negligent party in many cases) to pay for damage and injuries. If you are sued by a client, you expect your professional liability insurance to protect you and your business. Other products like life insurance can act as protection for your family, offering an inheritance or income to them after you are gone.

Coverage is outlined in your policy, specifying who the insured and the insurer are, what is covered, how much insurance there actually is, and how much it costs—along with any deductibles. Although many are just generic templates, policies and wording regarding coverage can often be difficult to understand. Keep in mind that your insurance agent may be a great salesperson, but even they may not even understand everything about the policy, and especially if it has riders attached to it, or a variety of other addendums. Skilled, experienced attorneys from the Bolender Law Firm can help you understand your policy better, and especially if you suspect there may be a possible bad faith claim.

Making sense of an insurance policy can be difficult—and so can paying the premiums. In some cases, they may be very high, and as a consumer, you may struggle to pay for several different types of insurance products in your personal life—as well as for your business. Because of that, you may be extremely frustrated when the insurance company is not following through on their promise to see that your car, home, or business are financially secure in the case of an accident or negligence claim. A bad faith claim is brought forth when the insurance company is not following through on their promises, resulting in a bad act toward the policyholder.

Examples of your insurer acting in bad faith could be: not investigating your claim sufficiently—or at all—or only extending an extremely low offer. They may be dragging their feet on paying the claim also, only paying part of it, or denying it altogether. Contact us as soon as possible if you need an experienced bad faith litigation attorney, concerning the following types of insurance:

  • Commercial property and liability insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Automobile insurance
  • Directors & Officers insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Accidental death insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Specialized insurance products

If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, the Bolender Law Firm will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

property damage appraisers

Property Damage Appraisers: Should I Trust Them?

If you have not had a reason to file an insurance claim recently (and your premiums are not exorbitant), it may have been easy to put the subject of insurance out of your mind for quite a while; however, if you have been in a car accident or were forced to file a claim regarding damage to your home or business, or more, dealing with insurance and property damage appraisers may suddenly become a central focus. And nothing can be more frustrating than being interrogated or stalled when you have done your part in paying premiums for years, fulfilling every requirement as requested by the insurer. Along with spending far too much time stressing about what is going to happen to your property or how you are going to pay medical bills, you have probably pored over your insurance policy too, wondering what the deal really is in the face of your insurer delaying the investigation or paying out for your claim.

The property damage appraiser works for the insurance company in evaluating the condition of your car, for example, if you have been in a wreck and have filed a claim—or they may be working for another party’s insurer if you were in an accident due to the negligence of someone else. The goal of the appraiser is very clear: to assess and advise on whether or not the insurance agency should pay the claim. They do this by investigating, ruling out fraud, examining insurance policies and other information such as medical records, and negotiating settlements and payments. They are also used to speaking with attorneys while they do their jobs. Keep this in mind if you are feeling helpless, alone, or intimidated during the appraisal, claims, and settlement (or litigation) process, as it is in your best interest to refer all questions to your attorney—and especially if you suspect the insurer may be acting in bad faith.

Insurance is about big money, and those involved are often given highly motivating compensation to see that cases are closed as quickly as possible and with as little cost as possible. While they may seem very friendly as well as neutral when it comes to assessing damage, never forget that they work for the insurance company and have a major role in deciding the outcome of your case. All questions from the appraiser should be referred to your attorney pleasantly, but firmly. Do not agree to hand over any files or participate in any recorded conversations without the advice of your attorney first.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

life insurance claim

Five Reasons Your Life Insurance Claim May Be Denied

Unless you work within the insurance industry, you probably find purchasing insurance to be somewhat of an odious task–not to mention figuring out a life insurance claim. Most of us are forced to own more than one type of policy, whether it is required by law or for our own peace of mind in knowing that if something happens, we are covered. Life insurance is a bit different though. In most cases, you do not have to own any if you don’t want to, and even if you lack direct descendants, leaving behind life insurance helps with funeral and burial costs, any outlying debts, and more.

No one enjoys thinking about their own mortality, and life insurance certainly brings the topic to the forefront. It may be an important part of your estate after death though, not only covering your final expenses but also leaving behind an inheritance for those who succeed you in death and may also rely on you for income. Unfortunately, collecting on life insurance may be a hassle for your beneficiaries later. Your surviving spouse or children may have been relying on it to survive after you are gone, but in some cases, it could be denied because of reasons like the following:

  1. Coverage was not what you expected or was not put in place as you expected—and this is another good reason why you should review all your insurance policies at least once a year.
  2. Information on your original application was not completely truthful—often this is just due to the applicant guessing about something or perhaps being forgetful, but if the insurance company can find a reason to deny your claim, they will. The application most likely will be scoured for any inaccuracies, so be certain to take your time and be sure about what you are telling the insurance company; for example, a pre-existing issue that was not disclosed could cause denial of a claim.
  3. Premiums were not paid. Keeping up with insurance payments can be challenging, but your policy could lapse even if you miss one premium.
  4. Suicide—historically, this is usually a reason for life insurance claims to be denied; these days, the rule is normally that a claim regarding suicide would be denied if the policy was less than two years old.
  5. Lack of beneficiaries listed on the life insurance policy—obviously this is critical to dispensing life insurance funds and reinforces the reason to review your policy every year.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

extended reporting period

Extended Reporting Period Could Be Your Saving Grace

Have you ever really looked at your insurance policy or examined details on items like an extended reporting period? For so many policyholders, the insurance transaction means communicating with a new agent—or perhaps one that you have had for years—and purchasing whatever coverage is necessary, putting the policy in a file, and then reminding yourself of the due dates for payment. In exchange for this ‘product’ you are buying, you receive a policy outlining all the details of how the insurance company will pay for any claims.

Most consumers are concerned with the features offered in basic auto policies, such as what types of coverage they need for bodily injury, property damage, comp and collision, and more. For homeowners, they may wonder about coverage for their home structure, the contents inside, and liability in case someone is hurt on the premises. In some cases—and especially if you are a working professional like a doctor, for instance—you may need more complex insurance in the form of a claims-made liability policy. This type of coverage protects you only if you have a policy in place when the claim is filed, however, and the policy must have been renewed continually, covering you within the time that the claim of negligence was made.

The extended report period can be extremely helpful if a claim is filed after coverage ended. Even though the event causing the claim may have occurred while your policy was in force and you were paying premiums, if the claims-made liability policy is not longer in force, the insurance company does not have to pay. With an extended reporting period in place, however (also known as a tail), you are allowed more time to report a claim to your insurance company—and this could save you from serious financial problems. Time periods for the ERP vary in length, from one to five years, or maybe even ten in some cases. An ERP for a shorter period of time may actually be included in your claims-made policy but is much shorter—usually only a couple of months at the most though. Longer ERPs are purchased as an endorsement to your policy.

If you need help reviewing your insurance policy, or if you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

filing insurance claims

Before Filing Insurance Claims: Read Your Policy

For the average consumer, dealing with insurance or filing insurance claims is usually a double-edged sword. You want the peace of mind in knowing that if you are in a car wreck or your home is flooded, for example, that you are covered in every necessary way possible to pay for medical treatment and damage. Getting to that point requires some work though, beginning with shopping insurance companies and finding an agent you can trust. And although your insurance agent may guide you toward a suitable product, it is also up to you to understand the fine details of what you are purchasing. This can be challenging though sometimes—and if you run into a problem later, consult with a skilled insurance attorney from the Bolender Law Firm to gain a better understanding of what went wrong, and what the insurance company really promised you within the policy.

If you need to file a claim, it probably pertains to one of these types of insurance:

  • Auto insurance
  • Homeowners insurance
  • General liability
  • Commercial property insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Accidental death insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Specialized insurance products

The Bolender Law Firm helps clients who expected coverage through all those types of policies but may have encountered a lack of investigation in the case, a lowball offer for a settlement, delay in payment of the claim—or an outright denial. No matter what type of policy you have, make sure you have a copy and that you are able to understand the major sections, from the declaration page identifying the insured, coverages, limits, and how long it is in force—to the insuring agreement, which lists exactly what the insurance company promises to do for you in the case of a claim, from paying out to offering suitable legal defense should that be necessary. The policy may also list exclusions, stating what is not covered, along with endorsements and riders that act as modifications or amendments to the original policy (and which by law, should be sent to you upon any changes).

If you suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation. Our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

adjusters

Beware of Adjusters Who Want to Speak to You Instead of Your Attorney

If you have had an accident or have filed a claim due to the negligence of another party, you may find yourself in the middle of an extremely frustrating experience trying to deal with insurance companies on your own. Automobile accidents are a perfect example, and especially because serious trauma could be involved—from brain injuries to spinal injuries, broken bones, and so much more. This may also have a deep financial impact if you are too injured to work, whether temporarily or permanently. Add having to communicate with insurance adjusters to the mix—while you are trying to heal—and you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, helpless, and intimidated.

The key is to not speak with the insurance adjusters but refer them to your attorney immediately. And if you suspect that the insurance company is trying to deny your claim on bad faith, consult with an experienced bad faith litigation firm like the Bolender Law Firm as soon as possible. It may be difficult to remember at times that the insurance companies are not on your side, no matter how friendly the insurance adjusters may seem. They are usually very skilled at their jobs, and they are trained to get as much information from you as they can to come up with a settlement offer that is as low as possible.

If you have been injured, for example, adjusters may ask for details about your injuries, and request access to medical records from the hospital or doctor’s office. Along with their mini-interrogations, they may also want to record your conversations. It is in your best interest not to agree to any of those requests, along with continuing to refer them to your attorney. This can be difficult if they are offering you what might seem to be a tempting settlement, but in most cases your attorney will be able to get much more for you in damages, as you deserve—rather than accepting a lowball offer.

On the other hand, rather than offering you anything, you may find that the insurance company has not investigated the case properly or is delaying the claim or denying it outright. If a dispute over a claim cannot be easily resolved through a call or written communication, our attorneys will advocate on behalf of policyholders through litigation, arbitration, or non-binding mediation.

At, the Bolender Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in representing clients in state and federal courts—at both the trial and appellate level. Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!

auto accident claims

Auto Accident Claims: The Most Common Reasons They Are Denied

Traffic incidents continue to rise today, despite added attention to new safety devices from car manufacturers and a plethora of public safety information being disseminated around the US. More people are on the roads—and far too many of them are distracted while driving, leading to the number one cause for auto accidents. But whether you end up in a fender bender due to someone texting behind the wheel, or a serious accident after a collision with a drunk or reckless driver, dealing with the insurance company can be more than a headache. It may be a total nightmare—and one that could drag out for a long time without the help of a skilled insurance attorney.

If you sustained injuries in an accident, having to fight with the insurance company can be even more stressful as you are trying to heal. You may also be unable to work, worried about finances, and very concerned about how to get your car repaired (and perhaps medical bills too).

Claims are usually denied by the insurance company for a handful of common reasons, to include:

  • No report was made – this is why you should always file a police report, unless you were involved in a fender bender so miniscule that it would obviously be a complete waste of time to notify anyone. If there is the slightest bit of damage or injury to anyone, the police should be called—along with an ambulance if necessary. If you were hit due to the negligence of another driver, getting information such as the other party’s name, number, work address, work phone, and insurance data is critical, along with the police report. Were there witnesses? If so, ask for their contact information immediately too as that is likely the only time you will see them, and they could be critical to your case as well.
  • You did not report injuries or go to the hospital right away – if you suspect any injury at all, let those at the scene of the accident know, and get treated as soon as possible. Without any initial reports regarding injury, insurance companies are likely to pounce on the lack of evidence and deny the claim.
  • The insurance company considers you at fault for the accident. This could be due to suspicion of drunk driving, speeding, or other reckless behavior.
  • You did not pay your premium on time (even for one month) or the policy had been canceled.
  • There was a misunderstanding regarding coverage, or the car insurance policy was not actually in force at the time of the automobile wreck.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver and suspect your insurance company may be denying your claim in bad faith, contact the attorneys at the Bolender Law Firm.  Call us at 310-320-0725 now or submit an easy consultation request online. We are here to help!