For various reasons, the insurance claim denial rate has increased by almost 25 percent since 2016. The rise of cut-rate insurance companies might be the biggest factor. To many drivers, the cost is the only factor when they choose auto insurance companies. If insurance companies decrease their rates, they usually increase their denial rates to compensate for the loss of revenue.
Insurance company duties are clear in these situations. And, market conditions do not affect an insurance company’s legal responsibilities. The process, which is outlined below, may be clear. But these consumer rights are just ink on paper unless an Illinois insurance dispute attorney enforces them in court. Insurance companies employ aggressive and experienced lawyers who look out for their interests. Without effective representation, these lawyers will run roughshod over your legal and financial rights
The Insurance Claims Process in the Prairie State
Unpredictable winter and spring weather usually increases the number of insurance claims in Illinois. However, companies cannot use the higher volume as an excuse to take shortcuts during the process or deny claims unfairly.
Usually, insurance companies have a legal duty to acknowledge claims within two weeks. So, they must get the ball rolling quickly. An old insurance company’s trick is to delay the start, so they can delay claim payment later. State law now outlaws this strategy.
Once the investigation begins, it must be thorough, prompt, and transparent. Let’s look at these elements individually.
Many insurance adjusters rubber-stamp claims as paid or denied, usually based on general market or weather factors. For example, an adjuster might rely on the airport-reported wind speed as opposed to the wind speed at the covered property. Such investigations are clearly not thorough.
Insurance adjusters also have a duty to move the investigation along. Once again, adjusters often use claims volume as an excuse to drag things out. However, they cannot use the number of storm claims or a lack of investigative resources as an excuse for delay.
Transparency means there are no closed-door meetings or secretive phone calls. Furthermore, the adjuster’s final report must usually include a detailed reason for the denial, as opposed to a conclusory statement.
Finally, on this point, insurance companies bear the entire financial loss. If they pay claims, the payment must reflect the full value of the property.
Aesthetics matter as well. If a fire damages one kitchen wall, the insurance company must fund a seamless repair. The replaced wall, or the replaced section of the wall, must look like every other wall in the room.
How an Illinois Insurance Dispute Attorney Can Help
Lawyers are good negotiators as well as good litigators. Illinois insurance dispute attorneys must usually bring both these skills completely to bear if they are to successfully resolve the matter.
Most insurance claim disputes settle out of court. Attorneys must be mindful of both the law and the facts during these negotiations. They must know when to compromise and when to stick to their guns. They must also be aware of the policyholder’s bottom line and top ceiling.
A lawyer should never take the easy way out. Instead, your attorney should be ready to litigate the case if needed. Suing an insurance company is generally a long and difficult road. Aggressive representation is usually the key to a successful outcome.
Contact a Diligent Winnebago County Insurance Dispute Attorney
Property owners have legal and financial rights. For a free consultation with an experienced insurance dispute lawyer in Illinois, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. by calling 815-315-0574. You have a limited amount of time to act.