If you have never heard about IFCA, then you may be confused to find that it plays a critical role in your insurance claims. Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) creates strict rules of conduct for insurers, but also those who deal with insurance companies operating in the state. If you have been injured and need to deal with insurance, IFCA rules and regulations are critical to the outcome of your case – and you need an attorney who is well-versed in all that IFCA contains.
Filing a Suit Against IFCA
In order to file a claim against IFCA, you must first give the insurance company you intend to sue a notification, as well as the Office of the Insurance Commissioner a notification on the basis of your claim within 20 days. Then, they must have time to resolve it before you can actually file an IFCA lawsuit. Failure to perform this step will result in an outright denial of your claim.
This law was enacted in December of 2007, but it is still widely misunderstood. Insurance companies have several rules that they must follow while conducting business in the state of Washington, but they often rely on the fact that consumers will not know about these rules or regulations.
Who Does the IFCA Rules Apply To?
The IFCA only applies to claims that policyholders make with their insurance company. It doesn’t apply to a claim that you may have with another insurance company; therefore, if you are filing a claim against another insurer, the IFCA rules may not apply.
IFCA is a legislation that was created to ensure that your insurance company complies with all specific requirements and conduct codes. They are required by the IFCA to:
- Never deny claims without conducting an investigation first
- Not misinterpret facts or policy language in order to avoid approving a claim
- Abide by all legal obligations
- Conform to the rules and regulations regarding how a claim is settled
Bad Faith Claims and the IFCA
If you feel that your insurer is operating in bad faith, you legally have the right to file a bad faith claim against it using the IFCA – after the 20-day notification has been given, of course. If the bad faith claim is successful, you can recover damages against that insurer, which include:
- Benefits of your insurance policy
- Attorney’s fees
- Emotional damage
In order to prove your case and establish your eligibility for these damages, you will need witnesses and expert testimony – such as testimony from a doctor proving your true injuries.
How Do You File a Bad Faith Claim?
You cannot or should not file a bad faith claim on your own. Instead, you need to enlist the assistance of a legal expert. If you feel that you have been wronged by your insurance company, contact an attorney right away in the state of Washington. You will want to explore your options based on your case and based on the conduct of your insurer. The attorney will assess the policy that you have with your insurance company, as well as the behavior that you have documented to establish whether or not a true bad faith claim exists. Then, your attorney can help you through the complex process of collecting benefits that you are entitled to through your policy. Not only will your attorney provide you with this help, but he or she can also show you ways to maximize the benefits and compensation – especially if you suffered additional harm dealing with your insurance company’s unnecessary tactics.