After watching scores of television commercials and other paid advertisements touting the supporting and nurturing nature of insurance companies, one can’t help but feel that the “good hands people” will always act “like a good neighbor” once a policy holder incurs a loss. After years of practicing insurance claims law, we have learned the unfortunate truth that insurance companies – like all big corporations – are only after one thing. Profit! Unfortunately, the way the insurance companies make this profit is by collecting insurance premiums from its insureds for years and then, upon the placement of a claim by its insured, denying or otherwise minimizing the payment the insurance company makes to the insured on the claim.
A perfect example of this attitute was reflected in a claim we recently resolved for one of our clients. Our client was a 90 year old gentleman who had served his country honorably in the military for decades and had even parachuted into France the day before D-Day! He was one of the original members of USAA Property and Casualty Insurance and had been insured by them for 60 years – without ever having made a claim! After noticing a substantial amount of cracking to his house, he placed a sinkhole claim with his insurance company, only to be summarily denied – in spite of the fact that the report from the insurance company’s expert clearly reflected sinkhole activity and that sinkhole activity had been confirmed to be a cause of loss to all of the other houses in his neighborhood! After vigorously pursuing this matter for our client, the insurance company eventually agreed to a substantial settlement which allowed our client to finally repair his home.
Although insurance companies will often try to do the right thing, their judgment is too often clouded by their desire to keep your premium dollars in the insurance company’s coffers. If you ever have the unfortunate experience of incurring a loss or other damage, make sure you seek the advice and counsel of an insurance claim professional who can explain your rights and make sure you are appropriately compensated for your loss.