In 2021, insurance companies collected over $1.3 trillion in premiums. So, these companies have almost unlimited financial resources with which to fight claims. Despite what TV commercials imply, an insurance company is never “on your side.” These companies make money when they collect premiums and they lose money when they pay claims. No business likes losing money. It is as simple as that.
Purely for financial reasons, the insurance company may not be on your side. But an Illinois insurance dispute attorney is always in your corner. Policyholders meet their legal obligations by faithfully paying premiums every month and being upfront with the insurance company. Our team helps ensure that insurance companies meet their legal obligations as well, both by paying legitimate claims and being upfront with their policyholders.
Kinds of Insurance Disputes
Illinois insurance dispute attorneys handle three basic kinds of matters:
- failure to investigate a claim
- failure to honor a legitimate claim
- failure to pay the claim
Generally, insurance companies have a legal duty to immediately acknowledge claims and launch investigations. These companies cannot use mass disasters or other unusual events as an excuse to drag their feet.
These investigations must be thorough, efficient, and transparent. Adjusters cannot rubber-stamp claims as paid or unpaid, regardless of whether it has approved or denied similar claims under similar circumstances. As for efficiency, there is no official time limit on these investigations. However, they cannot be unreasonably long. Finally, all investigations must be transparent. Nothing important can happen behind closed doors.
To deny legitimate claims, insurance adjusters often point to minor inconsistencies in policyholder statements or minute bits of evidence. But the policyholder need not prove a claim beyond all possible doubt.
Finally, insurance companies bear complete financial responsibility in these situations. Property depreciation doesn’t affect the claim amount. The policy covers the full insured value of the property.
On a related note, partial payments are likewise illegal. For example, if a flood destroys part of the carpet in a room, the insurance company must make the repair seamless. It must either replace all the carpet in that room or ensure the replaced portion is not obvious.
How an Insurance Disputes Attorney Helps You
An Illinois insurance dispute attorney is a good negotiator and a good litigator. Attorneys must often bring both skills to bear to successfully resolve insurance dispute matters.
Frequently, the mere presence of a lawyer sufficiently compels insurance companies to live up to their legal obligations. If more extensive negotiations are necessary, attorneys know when to stand firm and when to compromise. There is plenty of leeway. State law usually allows treble damages if the insurance company acted in bad faith. Most companies will do almost anything to avoid such a strong financial penalty.
If the matter goes to court, a lawyer is a strong voice for you throughout the process. That includes preliminary hearings as well as the final trial.
Connect With a Diligent Winnebago County Insurance Disputes Attorney
Insurance companies must promptly pay legitimate claims. For a free consultation with an experienced insurance dispute attorney in Illinois, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. by calling 815-315-0574. We routinely handle matters throughout the Prairie State.