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Understanding Mississippi with Unfair Claims and Cases of Bad Faith Based on Delay | Real estate insurance coverage law blog



Mississippi's unjust claim to law and acts of unbelief are unique. After Hurricane Katrina, I took the Mississippi Bar and represented hundreds of Mississippi companies and residents with insurance disputes stemming from Hurricane Katina. I had the honor of representing the grandparents of my co-author in this blog post. As a child, I lived for three years in Waveland, Mississippi. Merlin Law Group still remains in Mississippi property insurance disputes. Since her interest in real estate insurance law began with our firm's work in Mississippi, I look forward to working with Kathryn in these cases after receiving the results of her law firm.

Interestingly, "Mississippi has not adopted the Model Unfair Claims Settlement. Practices Act. Every year, efforts are made to propose legislation to enact this law." 1

Mississippi is in fact the only state without legislation 2 Mississippi policyholders need more consumer protection in regulations and statutes.

Although there are no statutory or regulatory provisions on fair damage management in Mississippi, Mississippi courts have permitted " bad faith "cases when insurance claims are delayed:

Obviously, some delays in the evaluation have claims that are unavoidable, legitimate and socially useful. assessment of receivables is appropriate.Because an insurer has one obligation under the Mississippi Act to investigate claims, it is not bad faith to perform that duty. However, an inadequate examination of a claim can create a jury question on the issue of bad faith. 3

An unreasonable delay in resolving or adjusting an insurance claim can give rise to an action that can be recovered in bad faith. 4

Although the Mississippi courts are skeptical of such claims, they have allowed the plaintiff to reclaim damages for bad faith when the settlement of an insurance claim is only delayed rather than finally denied. See, e.g. Travelers Indem. Co. v. Wetherbee 368 So. 2d 829, 834–35 (Miss 1979) (confirms the jury for punitive damages where the insurer withheld payment for eight months); AmFed Cos., LLC v Jordan 34 So. 3d 1177, 1191 (Miss. App. 2009) (confirms the decision of the trial judge to submit the question of criminal damages to the jury in a case of delay); Pilate v. Am. Federated Ins. Co. 865 So. 2d 387, 400 (Miss. App. 2004) (‘[T] here may be cases where a delay [of payment for one month] may possibly be sufficient grounds for an evil claim to faith.’); see also Essinger v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co. 529 F.3d 264, 271 n.1 (5th Cir. 2008) (& # 39; Unusual delays in processing claims and failure to conduct a meaningful investigation have been combined to create a jury question on bad faith. & # 39; # 39;); men see Tutor v. Ranger Ins. Co. 804 F.2d 1395, 1399 (5th Cir. 1986) ( per curiam ) (reverse jury penalty amount where payment was delayed during an ongoing dispute between insured and insurer); Caldwell v. Alfa Ins. Co. 686 So.2d 1092, 1098 (Miss 1996) (confirms grant of summary judgment where an insurance company delayed payment for three months in complex wrongful deaths, including six weeks delay after completing its investigation 5

Mississippi courts have not defined what a "reasonable" delay is against an "unreasonable" delay. Further "[w] here an insurance company denies or delays the payment of a valid claim, the penalty will not be if the carrier has a reasonable reason for such denial or delay." 7

I Bad faith possible for carrier who allegedly harassed insured we noted:

Under Mississippi law, insurance companies have an obligation & # 39; to perform a quick and adequate investigation and make a reasonable decision in good faith based on that investigation "a nd may be liable for damages to deny a claim in bad faith … In order to obtain damages for bad faith denied his insurance claim must [insured] & # 39; show that the insurer refused the claim (1) without justifiable or legitimate grounds, either in fact or in law, and (2) with malice or gross negligence in violation of the insured's rights "[The insurer,] on the other hand," only need to show that it had reasonable grounds, either in fact or in law, to refuse payment. "The question of [the insurer] had an arguable basis for denying the 'claim' is a question of law before the Court.

Mississippi follows the series of cases that allow an insurance company to be "reasonably" or "probably" wrong in adjusting a statement to avoid the consequences of not acting in good faith. However, some case law suggests that this reasonable or argumentative basis is for a judge rather than a jury to decide.

Thought For The Day

Books were my passport to personal freedom. I learned to read at the age of three and soon discovered that there was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.
—Oprah Winfrey
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1 Mississippi Insurance Related Law A to Z Guide Holcomb Dunbar Attorneys, https://www.holcombdunbar.com/mississippi-insurance-related-law -2020-update / (29 May 2020).
2 A Roadmap for 50 States: Navigating Various State Laws for Handling Legal Claims 1,3, Eagle Law, https://www.eagle-law.com/wp-content/uploads /Paper-S.Backus-LWoodrow-FairClaims -Handling.pdf (February 2017).
3 Pilate v. American Federated Ins. Co. 865 So. 2d 387 (Miss. App. 2004) (quoting Jeffrey Jackson, Mississippi Insurance Law § 12: 5 (2001)).
4 AmFed Cos., LLC v Jordan 34 So. 3d 1177, 1183 (Miss. Ct. App. 2009) (with reference to Travelers Indem. Co. v. Wetherbee 368 So. 2d 829, 835 (Miss. 1979).
5 [19659018] Mississippi Insurance Related Law-An A to Z Guide Holcomb Dunbar Attorneys, https://www.holcombdunbar.com/mississippi-insurance-related-law-2020-update/ (May 29, 2020). [19659016] 6 [19659018] Caldwell v. Alfa Ins. Co. 686 So.2d 1092, 1098 (Miss 1996).
7 Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. McKneely 862 So. 2d 530, 533 (Miss. 2003) (with reference to Estate of Wesson 517 So.2d at 528).


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