Insurance companies in Oklahoma have a basic responsibility to use good faith settlement practices. Unfortunately, bad faith is a serious problem. As simply explained by Investopedia, bad faith insurance refers broadly to the improper tactics that insurers use to “avoid their contractual obligations.” Insurers who act in bad faith are trying to pay out less—possibly nothing at all.

McGuire Law Firm is a law firm with extensive experience handling bad faith insurance claims in Oklahoma. We fight for the rights of victims and their families—not large corporations. In this article, our Oklahoma City bad faith insurance attorney highlights five of the most common examples of bad faith insurance claims. 

Refusal to Acknowledge the Insurance Claim

An insurance company has a basic responsibility to acknowledge the receipt of a claim and to begin processing it in a reasonably timely manner. In some cases, insurance companies in Oklahoma engage in bad faith practices by simply refusing to acknowledge a claim. In other words, the insurer does not respond to the claimant’s notification of a loss. In such cases, the claimant is left in a frustrating limbo—unable to proceed with repairs, medical treatment, or other action to recover from their damage/loss. Refusal to acknowledge is a bad-faith settlement tactic that not only delays the process but can also discourage people from pursuing their claims at all. 

An Unreasonable Delay of Investigation of the Claim

How does an insurance company determine the validity of a claim? It must conduct a proper investigation. In Oklahoma, an insurer’s deliberate delay in investigating a claim is another example of bad faith. Insurers are obligated to act promptly and responsibly in assessing claims. However, when they drag their feet, people face unnecessary hardships. A delay can even be financially crippling—especially when urgent repairs or medical attention are needed. By postponing the investigation, insurers abuse their position of power and undermine the claims process. 

Excess Demands for Documents for the Claimant

An insurance company has a general right to seek relevant information from the party—first party or third party—that has filed a claim. With that being said, an insurer cannot bury a claimant in unreasonable requests for information. Requesting excessive documentation that is irrelevant or unnecessary for the claim’s resolution is a tactic insurers use to complicate the process. While it is reasonable for an insurance company to require certain documents to process a claim, some insurers take this to unjustifiable extremes. 

An Unreasonably Low Settlement Offer

As part of Oklahoma’s good faith settlement requirements for insurance companies, an unreasonably low initial settlement offer can be considered a bad faith insurance practice. The unfortunate reality is that offering an unreasonably low settlement is a strategy some insurers use to exploit the financial desperation of claimants. Following a bad accident, most people want to settle their case and move forward with their lives as quickly as possible. After delays and exhaustive demands for documentation, a person may find themselves in a vulnerable position. Insurers might take advantage of this by offering a settlement far below what is fair or what the policy promises. It is a bad-faith settlement practice.  

Unjustified Denial of Benefits

What happens if an insurance company denies your claim? The short answer is that you have the right to appeal. If the denial is wholly unjustified, the claimant may also have a bad faith insurance claim. Perhaps the most blatant act of bad faith is the unjustified denial of benefits. An unjustified denial occurs when insurers deny a claim without a valid reason or by misinterpreting the language in the policy to their advantage. An outright unfair denial can devastate people who depend on these benefits for recovery or rebuilding after a loss. An unjustified denial is a tactic that can lead to a bad-faith insurance claim. Through a bad faith claim, you may be entitled to recover for the full value of your initial claim, and you may seek additional bad faith damages. 

Contact Our Oklahoma City Bad Faith Insurance Claims Attorney Today

At McGuire Law Firm, our Oklahoma bad faith insurance lawyers put the rights and interests of clients first. If you are preparing a bad-faith insurance claim against a first-party or third-party insurer, it is imperative that you have an experienced attorney on your side. Call us now or contact us online for a free, completely confidential initial consultation. We handle bad faith insurance claims throughout Oklahoma, including in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Lawton, and Edmond.