Bad Faith Demand Letter
A bad faith demand letter is a formal, written demand to an insurer, describing the bad faith practice(s) that the insurer has engaged in. The bad faith demand letter is written on behalf of the insured; that is, the person, couple or family that entered the contract to be insured under a policy for any type of insurance, including:
- vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, boat)
- uninsured/underinsured motorist
- life insurance
- earthquake, flood
- homeowners and renters insurance
- liability and other types of business insurance
An Early Step in the Resolution of a Bad Faith Claim
Bad faith demand letters are often the first step in the resolution of a bad faith claim. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not prone to easily and willingly settling a contested insurance claim with the insured, and an attorney or law firm can help by:
- Interviewing the insured at length
- Gathering the documents that are relevant to the claim (e.g., medical records, accident reports, and the insurance policy itself)
- Interviewing witnesses and others who are part of the claim
- Writing a cogent, persuasive bad faith demand letter to the insurance company or its affiliate
- Negotiating by phone or in person with the insurer's representatives and/or legal counsel
- Obtaining a fair settlement whenever possible, rather than going to court (the most expensive and time-consuming option)
Bad faith demand letters are sometimes written to point out the "errors" or outright bad faith practices the insurance company has committed. The letters are best when they are specific, concise, and assertive. The claim needs to be stated very clearly, with a detailed demand for action by the insurer. The following excerpts of language from a sample bad faith letter may help illustrate the recommended style:
- Please accept this letter as the claimant's formal written demand for the available policy limits in this case; i.e., $450,000.
- We contend that your failure to offer the available policy limits to protect your insured is an instance of bad faith.
- Please be advised that we are fully prepared to present the claimant's case in court.
- The full $450,000 policy limit will both protect your insured from a larger judgment and protect your interests
- My client will accept $ (X amount of dollars) as the full and final settlement of his claim.
- Please inform our firm of your response to this settlement demand within the next 30 days.
It is in your best interest to consult an experienced bad faith attorney who can ensure you meet all the requirements in your demand letter. For more information about your specific circumstances and what your letter should include, consult a bad faith attorney today.
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