Insurance Companies Exploiting COVID-19 Pandemic | Blumenshine Law

Insurance Companies Exploiting Coronavirus Pandemic

Illinois state capital

With all the changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought to society, one thing has not changed. Insurance companies are still delaying claim payments to protect their profits over their customers and injured claimants.

The pandemic has limited the ability of injured plaintiffs to bring a case to trial before a jury and a judge. A trial is our justice system’s ultimate safeguard against the denial and delaying tactics of insurance companies. As this insurance industry newsletter makes clear, the insurance companies are aware of this and are taking full advantage of claimants’ vulnerability.

Insurers Denying Valid Claims and Making Lowball Settlement Offers

The insurance industry is notorious for trying to get injured claimants to settle for a much lower amount than they are owed. To overcome lowball offers, wrongly injured people and their attorneys must have the option of taking their cases in front of a jury to level the playing field and get the insurance company to come to a more reasonable settlement or face a judgment.

Now with courts largely closed because of the pandemic, and the possibility of swift jury trials still uncertain, the insurance industry is taking advantage of injured plaintiffs by denying claims, delaying claims or offering lower settlement amounts.

One inside source in a large Illinois insurance company described an email that was sent to the insurer’s in-house defense lawyers. That email instructed the defense lawyers to settle cases for 30 to 40 percent less than their full value because plaintiffs are more likely to be in need of money right away due to the pandemic.

This cynical and exploitative behavior by insurance companies is contrary to the warm and fuzzy marketing messages of how “good” they are. Insurers’ delays and denials are all the more repugnant when coupled with the fact that the insurance industry has been sitting on a massive cash surplus that has quadrupled in size in the past 25 years, while insurance payouts to claimants have remained the same.

Insurance Regulators Condemn Greedy Insurance Practices

Fortunately, some public officials have taken notice of the insurance companies’ shameful exploitation of the situation. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance Robert Muriel also joined in the call for insurance companies to be fair. In the wake of recent social unrest, Mr. Muriel threatened fines and license suspensions for insurers who failed to comply with the law. 

The Commissioner of California’s Department of Insurance recently warned companies against this behavior, stating that insurers “are unfairly taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis and providing unjustifiably low settlement offers knowing financial need is high and recourse to the civil court system in the state is currently severely limited.”

The Commissioner also stated that insurance companies “are lowering or failing to make settlement offers with full knowledge that, because of the reduced California court schedules, policyholders are unable to obtain prompt redress in the California court system.” 

Get a Free Consultation with One of Our Attorneys

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys at the Blumenshine Law Group know what it takes to make insurance companies pay fair and just amounts. We have the knowledge, experience, team, and process to deal with insurance companies that wrongfully deny coverage exists or that try to settle claims for less than their full worth. 

When it comes to holding insurance companies accountable, our winning track record and proven litigation strategy ensures our clients get their just compensation, no matter how many delays or denials the insurance company throws at us. If you have been seriously injured, call us today at (312) 766-1000, text us at (312) 719-2010, email us at info@blg-legal.com or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.