Oklahoma Insurance Law

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Experienced insurance adjusters know the phrase “bad faith”. The term is a short hand way to describe a lawsuit filed for the alleged violation of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing. It is the legal duty imposed by operation of law. The shorthand “bad faith” is a lot easier to say. The implied duty sounds like one duty. But, the obligation carries two parts; good faith and fair dealing. The two parts…
    Insurance covers all kinds of damaging events. Many people think about their home, car, boat, lake house, disability policy, life insurance, or business. However, insurance is available for all sorts of other things. For instance, professional athletes insure their hands. Entertainers and music stars insure the ability to sing or play an instrument. Actors and actresses buy insurance against disfigurement. Doctors buy malpractice coverage. Rodeo and concert events are insured against weather cancellation.…
For the filing fee of approximately $250, anyone can file a bad faith lawsuit. Just saying an insurance company acted in bad faith is not proof. Words are easy to say. Some people jump to the conclusion that there is bad faith when there isn’t any. There is a significant difference in filing papers at the courthouse and actually winning a trial. Filing a bad faith lawsuit means writing words on a legal document. Proving…
Bad faith is when the insurance company wrongfully refuses to pay a valid insurance claim. It is not a simple mistake during the claim. It is not a genuine dispute over the coverage or damages. Bad faith isn’t present just because the claimant wants more money. The courts in Oklahoma (and courts in other states) have identified misconduct that is bad faith. Although not a complete list, actions declared to be bad faith include: *…
Bad faith law is intended to protect the public from unscrupulous claim practices. The courts apply the common law precepts of good faith and fair dealing to fashion remedies. The laws balance the unequal bargaining position of the parties. An insurance company has the greater financial resources and usually a lot more sophistication in claims. The insured policyholder may be in a poor financial position at the time of a loss. Due to the imbalance,…
Bad faith under Oklahoma law only applies in certain situations. Not every dissatisfied claimant is entitled to sue. Bad faith is: * not action by the underwriting department while underwriting a policy * not the activity of an insurance agent in selling the coverage * not the action of an adjuster handling a third party claim * not just because some lawyer uses the phrase “bad faith” * not an honest mistake by the claim…
In Oklahoma, an insurance company has a legal duty to fairly pay claims. This duty is technically to act in good faith and with fair dealing. An insurance company that refuses to fairly pay claims can be sued for bad faith for not complying with the law. The insured policyholder can claim emotional distress, financial losses, etc., caused by the bad faith. It is good to keep in mind that the term bad faith is…
A forum on Oklahoma Business Transfers was conducted in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 21, 2018. The conference provided speakers from the insurance industry with expertise in business transfer and runoff business. The discussion was interesting as the panel discussion explained the comparison to the new Oklahoma legislation effective in November, 2018, with the structure in the Part VII transfer familiar to the London insurance market. The Oklahoma model was implemented in an attempt to emulate…
The typical homeowner’s insurance policy has a clause allowing the parties to use appraisal to resolve disputes. Appraisal is intended to quickly and economically determine the amount of a loss in cases of disagreement. Like many aspects of Oklahoma law, appraisal should be approached with the advice of an experienced attorney. The Oklahoma appellate decisions impact the process. In simple terms, appraisal involves three parties that serve as a panel. Each side chooses one appraiser…
Tornadoes cause so much destruction and damage to property in Oklahoma. So far, 2018 is a notable exception to the number of tornadoes and the extent of the damages. The National Weather Service reports there have been 18 tornadoes this year; the strongest being an EF2 and only one reported with this wind speed and strength. This is great news for Oklahoma property owners and insurers. Property damage by tornadoes costs insurance companies a lot…