Professional Liability Insurance Claims
Professional liability insurance, or errors & omissions insurance, is a form of liability insurance which indemnifies individuals providing professional advice and services from claims of negligence or errors and omissions, and judgment resulting from a civil lawsuit brought by clients or other third parties. Professionals including attorneys, physicians and accountants with expertise in a specific area carry professional liability insurance as protection against claims arising out of business or professional practices. Coverage typically includes the costs of defense and indemnity of any damage awards up to the policy limits, and they typically exclude criminal acts, breach of contract or personal injury. Most often, they are claims made and reported policies, which means that the claim against the insured be made and reported in the relevant policy period.
Professional Liability Insurance Bad Faith Claims Denials
Professional liability policy forms vary somewhat from insurer to insurer and from industry to industry, and often contain long lists of exclusions for specific losses. Many disputes today focus on whether the claim was made and reported in the relevant policy period. For example, insurers often deny professional liability claims if the insured had knowledge of the clams before the policy effective dates, or if the claim pertains to professional services performed before the retroactive date. In such cases, a dispute results over whether a “claim” was made, of which the insured had knowledge, within the policy period. Insurers may also deny claims which are not reported within a reasonable period of time defined in the policy. In addition, whether and when a professional liability insurer must advance defense costs—that is, pay them as they are incurred—often give rise to disputes. Disputes also arise as to when an insurer should have consented to and paid for settlement. An Insurance company will often take advantage of the complexity of its own policies and issue improper denials, often based on ambiguous policy exclusions. It is crucial to retain an attorney with prior experience with professional liability policies and insurance companies to fight insurance company bad faith claim denials.
Recovery and Damages for Professional Liability Insurance Bad Faith Claims Denials
California law imposes an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing (more commonly known as insurance bad faith) on every insurance policy based on fundamental principles of fairness. Additionally, most professional liability policies require that an allocation be made with respect to covered or potentially covered claims and those that are not. Professional liability insurers on occasion will delay or withhold crucial defense payments to an insured during the course of “investigating” these issues. If an insurer unreasonably and without proper cause denies an insurance claim, refuses to cover an insureds’ defense or refuses to conduct a reasonable investigation in bad faith conduct, a professional liability policyholder may sue for policy benefits due under the policy, “consequential damages” that are caused by the bad faith conduct, emotional distress, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and interest on past-due benefits (typically at California’s legal rate of 10%). Professional liability insurance policy denials are on the rise as companies seek to avoid losses.
Professional Liability Insurance Bad Faith Claims Denial Experience
McKennon Law Group specializes in litigating and resolving professional liability insurance claim disputes for policyholders. We have litigated and been consulted on hundreds of professional liability, ERISA insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, health insurance, bad faith and other insurance matters. Because of our aggressive advocacy and our regional and national reputation as a leading California insurance litigation firm, we are able to achieve maximum settlements and judgments/verdicts at trial.
We have been litigating professional liability, ERISA insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, property & casualty, bad faith and other insurance matters since 1986. Our attorneys are nationally recognized experts in insurance bad faith litigation and have chaired numerous seminars and written numerous articles dealing with insurance bad faith claim issues. Our attorneys are top rated by all major peer review rating agencies and have been honored to receive numerous prestigious awards and recognitions. No attorneys in California or anywhere in the United States are better suited to litigate your bad faith insurance claims. In fact, the attorneys of the McKennon Law Group previously represented the insurance companies that denied such claims and thus have the broadest possible experience in litigating these types of insurance disputes. We can and will aggressively litigate your case to achieve maximum success. We have significant trial experience and we are not afraid to go to trial against the big insurance companies.
Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your insurance claim or litigation matter.