What happens if my company denies or delays a claim?

The whole reason commercial property owners in the Metairie area and the rest of the New Orleans region pay oftentimes hefty premiums to insurance companies is so that the company will be there when they need help.

In other words, in exchange for months or even years of premiums, a property owner can rightly expect that when their property gets damaged and they have to file commercial property damage insurance claims as a result, their insurance company will pay and do so promptly.

Unfortunately, insurance companies do not always see it this way. While sometimes a delay in payment or even a denial of a claim is reasonable, on too many occasions, it is instead the result of foot-dragging on the part of a company which just has not given enough priority to helping people when they need it.

Sometimes, this is just because the company is inadequately staffed. Sadly, in other cases, it marks a deliberate effort on the part of the company to leverage a person who obviously needs to rebuild or repair his or her business.

Whatever the case, Louisiana, as well as the laws of our neighboring states, protect property owners from this sort of behavior. One of the most well-known of these provisions is the doctrine of bad faith.

A bad faith claim allows a person whose insurance company has unreasonably delayed or denied a claim to pursue compensation beyond even what the insurance company originally owed.

The idea behind bad faith is that an insurance company must protect its customer in the customer's time of need, at least to the same extent the company protects its own business interests. The upshot is that a company cannot use its position of power to force customers who pay premiums to give up some or all of the proceeds that are rightly theirs.

Detailed questions about whether someone has a good case for bad faith should be referred to an attorney experienced in such matters.

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