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Jury: Insurer acted in good faith after hailstorm

Meritless bad faith claims against insurance companies can drive up costs for other people who need the protection of a good insurance policy. It is in the best interests of insurers and policyholders to resolve these disputes in the most cost-efficient way possible.

While many bad faith claims can be resolved through mediation or arbitration, the lawyers of Landrum & Shouse LLP have found that preparing each insurance defense as it if will go to trial is the best way to lay the foundation for a successful outcome.

With these issues in mind, let's consider a recent jury verdict in favor of National Lloyds Insurance Co. The insurer was accused of acting in bad faith after two hailstorms in 2012 resulted in tens of thousands of property damage claims being filed with insurers.

At trial, the plaintiff sought actual damages totaling between $13,000 and $14,000, and damage to the roof of the plaintiff's property was included in that estimate. The plaintiff claimed that National Lloyds took too much depreciation from the value of the roof and consequently didn't pay out enough. The plaintiff also claimed that interior damage and damage to an air conditioner resulted from the hailstorm.

Additionally, the attorneys for the plaintiff argued for more than $147,000 in attorneys' fees, which, if the bad faith claim were successful, would be paid by the insurer.

However, the jury didn't believe that the hailstorm caused the air conditioner not to work or that the roof was overly depreciated. One juror even suggested that the case was more about the plaintiff lawyers' fees than about protecting policyholders' rights. The case was heard in Texas, where the state insurance code allows for plaintiffs with bad faith claims to recover attorneys' fees.

In the end, the jury found that National Lloyds properly processed the claim and acted in good faith. 

Insurers know that even when you promptly process and settle claims with the full amount owed, there is still a risk of being accused of bad faith. In these cases, you need an experienced legal team on your side to protect your rights and interests.

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