LOUISIANA INSURER BAD FAITH CLAIMS
WHAT YOU NEED TO PROVE
- submit satisfactory proof of loss and
- show that the insurer failed to pay the claim within the applicable statutory period either without probable cause or in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
LAW IS STRICTLY CONSTRUED
In bad faith actions, the insured is seeking extra-contractual damages, as well as punitive damages. Therefore, the insured’s burden is great. The court should impose penalties only when the facts negate probable cause for nonpayment.
The statutes penalize an insurer whose willful refusal of a claim is not based on a good-faith defense. While an insurer cannot “stonewall” the insured because she cannot show her exact amount of damage, the insurer is not required by the bad faith statutes to pay all of the insured’s claim within the statutory period to avoid penalties.
If the extent of loss is contested, the insurer need only tender the “undisputed portion” of the claim, or “the reasonable amount which is due.” This means the insurer must pay the insured “a figure over which reasonable minds could not differ” within the statutory period.