MARCH 2014 BAD FAITH CASES: COURT DENIES CARRIER’S MOTION TO DISMISS WHERE IT WAS ALLEGED THAT THE CARRIER UTILIZED A CONTRACTOR TO OBTAIN A LOWER VALUATION OF THE INSUREDS’ LOSS (Philadelphia Federal)
The insureds sought benefits under their homeowner’s insurance policy after incurring damage to their home. After notifying the carrier of their claim, the carrier acknowledged that the damage was covered under the policy. The carrier retained an independent contractor to assess the amount of the insureds’ loss, determining that the loss was $193,270.43. The carrier paid this amount to its insureds.
However, the carrier normally conducted damage estimates itself using an estimating program called Symbility. The contractor hired to estimate the value of the insureds’ loss used an estimating program called Xactimate, which assigns lower costs than Symbility, the program that the carrier normally uses. According to the insureds, the carrier utilized a contractor to obtain a lower estimate and justify underpaying the insureds’ claim.
The carrier filed a motion to dismiss, but the court denied the motion. Instead, the court found that the insureds had stated a claim for bad faith and that the carrier’s argument that it acted reasonably was not convincing.