Kansas and Missouri Insurance Bad Faith Attorney/Lawyer/Law Firm | Johnson County, Olathe, Overland Park, Leawood, Lenexa | Kansas City vexatious refusal litigation
Has your Kansas or Missouri insurance company denied your claim in bad faith? If so, the attorneys in our law office may be able to help you recover your losses - even those beyond the stated limits of your policy. We are not afraid to take on insurance companies.
Insurance companies are good at many things. First of all, they are good at cashing the premium checks you have diligently sent in. They are good at claiming they are the final word in insurance disputes. They are good at claiming you didn't pay your premium, or didn't pay on time. They are good at saying other insurance companies are responsible for your losses. And they're good at saying that the fine print lets them off the hook for paying you the insurance payouts you deserve.
At The Law Offices of Jeremiah L. Johnson, LLC, we know this because we have fought with numerous insurance companies, caught them making legally unsubstantiated claims, and brawled for significant awards for our clients. Not only have we learned about insurance company tactics through litigation, but we have also learned about the insurance business through our contacts with the employees of insurance companies and the attorneys they hire to defend them. If you have suffered financial or property loss and feel your Kansas or Missouri insurer has dealt with you in bad faith or unfairly, contact the Law Offices of Jeremiah L. Johnson, LLC. today at (913) 764-5010. We defend the rights of Missouri and Kansas residents when insurance companies refuse to honor insurance policies.
If your home, business, car or other property was damaged, do not listen when your insurer says that the coverage you purchased does not apply. Instead, call us. In a free initial consultation, we can determine whether the insurer is really free from the duty to provide compensation.
What is a "bad faith" insurance claim in Kansas?
Bad faith is not a tort in Kansas, as it is in many other states. This does not mean that bad faith claims in Kansas do not have teeth. As early as 1920, the Kansas Supreme Court held that an insurer was liable for the full amount of an insured's loss, irrespective of policy limits, if it was negligent in conducting the defense for the insured. See Anderson v. Surety Co., 107 Kan. 375 (1920). This was expanded to negligent conduct in defending or settling a claim in 1957 in Bennet v. Conrady, 180 Kan. 485 (1957). Insurance companies' duty to deal fairly with their insureds has also been said to arise from the quasi-public nature of the insurance business in general. Spencer v. Aetna Life & Cas. Ins. Co., 227 Kan. 914 (1980). Thus, a bad faith insurance claim arises when an insurer refuses or fails to pay for a claim, or is negligent in defending its insured.
There are a number of factors to look at when determining whether an insurer has acted in bad faith in Kansas: (1) whether the insured was able to obtain a reservation of rights. Reservation of rights: Once an insurer has had a reasonable opportunity to investigate, or has learned of grounds for questioning coverage, it then is under a duty to promptly inform its insured (customer) of its intention to disclaim coverage or of the possibility that coverage will be denied or questioned. Ortiz v. Biscanin, 34 Kan. App. 2d 445 (2004); (2) efforts or measures taken by the insurer to resolve the coverage dispute promptly or in such a way to limit any potential prejudice to the insured. if there are coverage disputes, under some circumstances, the insurer may have a duty to file a declaratory judgment action for judicial clarification; (3) the substance of the coverage dispute or the weight of legal authority on the coverage issue. An insurer can rely on a good faith belief in legal authority, but does so at its peril. See Ortiz v. Biscanin, 34 Kan. App. 2d 445 (2004); (4) the insurer's diligence and thoroughness in investigating the facts specifically pertinent to coverage. The duty to investigate goes beyond simply glossing over the facts in a case and requires a Kansas insurer to turn over stones to uncover the real story; and (5) efforts made by the insurer to settle the liability claim in the face of the coverage dispute. Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. v. Americold Corp., 261 Kan. 806 (1997).
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Car, home, and business insurance companies operating in Kansas have a duty to indemnify their insured to the limits of their policy as well as a duty to defend their insured. These clauses can bind insurers to pay for damages and to pay for legal representation in many circumstances. We have represented numerous individuals and businesses in insurance bad faith claims against national insurers, including State Farm Insurance, Farmers Insurance Group and Shelter Insurance Company. We have won substantial insurance payouts, attorney's fees and punitive damages based on insurance companies' choice to shirk their duty and act without good faith.
Types of "bad faith" insurance claims available in Kansas:
1. First party claims: First party bad faith insurance claims in Kansas are claims of the insured directly against the insurer under the terms of the insurance contract between them. There is an implied-in-law covenant of good faith and fair dealing that requires each party to an insurance contract to avoid doing anything that will impair the right of the other party to receive the benefits of the agreement. In general, there are 3 types of first party pad faith insurance claims in Kansas: (1)Adversarial claims; (2) Uninsured and underinsured motorists claims; and (3) Personal injury protection (PIP) claims.
What duties does an insured have to the insurer in Kansas? In Kansas the insured (aka customer) has common obligations such as the payment of premiums, giving proper notice of a claim, a duty to cooperate, and a duty to be honest with the insurer.
What duties does an insurance company have to their customer (insureds) in Kansas? An insurance company writing policies in Kansas has a duty to defend its insured, and a duty to indemnify (i.e. cover losses) to the limits of the insurance policy contract. The duty to defend and whether the policy provides coverage are not always coextensive issues. In Kansas, the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify, or cover an insured's losses. The duty to defend arises whenever there is a potential of liability under the policy. When an insured (customer) makes a claim against a Kansas insurance company, the insurer is supposed to complete a "good faith" analysis of the pleadings and any facts brought to its attention or which it could reasonably discover during its investigation.
2. Third party claims:
Relevant Kansas statutes regarding bad faith insurance claims:
KSA 40-219 - This statute provides an insurance company may be enjoined from doing any business in the State of Kansas if it fails to pay a loss within 3 months of after a final judgment. The injunction continues until the judgment is fully paid.
KSA 40-256 - This statute says that an insurance company must pay attorneys' fees for an insured who obtains a judgment against it where the company refused to pay the full amount of loss without just cause or excuse.
KSA 40-908 - The statute mandates that attorney's fees may be recovered by a plaintiff where judgment is rendered against a company on a policy insuring property against certain losses.
KSA 40-3111 - This statute provides attorneys' fees for advising a claimant in an action to recover overdue personal injury protection (PIP) benefits if the court finds that the insurer unreasonably refused to pay the claim or unreasonably delayed in making proper payment.
KSA 40-2401 through KSA 40-2414 - These statutes all work hand in hand to have the following effects: These statutes regulate insurers by defining unfair settlement practices and recognize the insurer's good faith in "prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear." These statutes also give the Kansas Insurance Commissioner authority to make charges and bring hearings against insurance companies doing business in Kansas.
If you have questions regarding home, business or car insurance, and bad faith insurance, contact us. We work on a contingency basis, so that you pay nothing unless we recover damages. We are available for free initial consultations weekdays, evenings and weekends. To contact us, call 1-913-764-5010.