Michael Davenport | Insurance Coverage and Insurance Losses Attorney Wilmington NC
Did you know that insurance companies have an obligation to operate in good faith when dealing with insurance claims made by their insured or against their insured? It may not always seem that way, but this is their contractual and legal responsibility.
Insurance Claims made by an insured are called “first-party claims.” Claims made against an insured (and, in turn, against the insured’s insurance company), by a third-party, are called “third-party claims.”
Insurance policies are often difficult to understand, even for sophisticated and experienced business people. I’ve been reading policies for seventeen years, and I continue to be struck by the convoluted complexity of insurance policy language and exclusions on a weekly basis.
As I often tell my clients, “insurance is not a non-profit industry.” As a result, many insurance companies are more interested in selling insurance policies and depositing premium payments than they are in paying claims. Insurance coverage disputes – and even litigation (where a lawsuit is filed) – often result when insurance companies fail to pay for a claim or fail to pay enough to cover a loss.
I have extensive experience across the spectrum of insurance disputes, including:
(i) establishing cause and origin of fires and other insurance losses;
(ii) quantifying commercial and residential, structural, business interruption, and personal property insurance losses;
(iii) arguing and/or litigating applicability/inapplicability of asserted insurance exclusions and other disputed first and third-party insurance coverage issues (most recently, in Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Hamin, 368 S.C. 536, 629 S.E.2d 683 (Ct. App. 2006), now en route to the South Carolina Supreme Court);
(iv) civil prosecution of bad faith and other unfair claims handling practice lawsuits involving insurance companies;
(v) defense of insurance company Declaratory Judgment Actions (seeking to deny coverage to insured); and
(vi) representation of insured at Examinations Under Oath and otherwise in insurer’s Special Investigation Unit process.