Saturday, November 3, 2012

Insurance Bad Faith Defined

Insurance Bad Faith Defined by Wikipedia:

"An insurance company has many duties to its policyholders. The kinds of applicable duties vary depending upon whether the claim is considered to be "first party" or "third party." A common first party context is when an insurance company writes insurance on property that becomes damaged, such as a house or an automobile. In that case, the company is required to investigate the damage, determine whether the damage is covered, and pay the proper value for the damaged property. Bad faith in first party contexts often involves the insurance carrier's improper investigation and valuation of the damaged property (or its refusal to even acknowledge the claim at all). "

So here is what I feel that Fidelity National Title Insurance Company did to fulfill it's responsibility:

  1. Investigate the damage.  FNTIC hired an appraiser from Boise Idaho to do an appraisal of the loss of the ingress/egress easement in Napa County California.  His first appraisal was a "cost to cure" appraisal where he valued a prescriptive easement which the property already benefited from to Cavedale Road in Sonoma County for the lost easement to Mt. Veeder Road in Napa County.  The same appraiser from Boise Idaho presented an almost identical second appraisal which determined the loss of the almost mile long residential easement did not affect the value of the subject property.  So the resulting loss was valued at $0.
  2. Determine whether the damage is covered.  It was determined to be covered by the second Claims Counsel in Chicago.
  3. Pay the proper value for the damaged property.  The first appraisal determined the amount to secure, survey and record the easement to Cavedale Road in Sonoma County was $13,500.  The second appraisal determined that the diminution in value was $0.
Did Fidelity National Title Insurance Company properly investigate the loss of the easement by hiring an appraiser from Boise Idaho?  Was determining a "cost to cure" with an easement to another road in another County correct?  or should it have been determining a "cost to cure" of the actual lost easement?  And was an attempt made to obtain that easement from the current owners?  Were those owners asked what they would sell the easement for?  How did they determine that the loss of an almost mile long easement through residential and vineyard property leaving only an entrance through a commercial/manufacturing property caused no ($0) diminution in value?

For years I begged Fidelity National Title Insurance Company to talk to me and work with me on settling this claim before I was forced to hire an attorney.