The Law of Unintended Consequences and the Tort of Bad Faith; Compact Books of Adjusting Property & Liability Claims; and Arson-For-Profit Fire at the Cowboy Bar & Grill
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, an insurance coverage and claims expert, has created a library of insurance claims books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.
For those who serve the insurance industry and its policyholders (whether as lawyers, adjusters, claims management, or public insurance adjusters) the ability to perform their duties appropriately in good faith it is absolutely necessary that they maintain insurance professionalism.
The books described in this post need a home in each law office, each insurance company. each independent adjuster’s claims office and in the offices of every public insurance adjusting firm.
Barry Zalma’s Insurance Claims Library will provide essential resources and will go a long way to create a staff of insurance claims professionals. The books listed below are a small taste of the insurance law and insurance claims books written by Barry Zalma and available on amazon.com and at http://zalma.com/blog/insurance-claims-library/ or the individual links at each described book.
The Law of Unintended Consequences and the Tort of Bad Faith
The concept of unintended consequences is one of the building blocks of economics. Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” the most famous metaphor in social science, is an example of a positive unintended consequence.
Most often, however, the law of unintended consequences illuminates the perverse unanticipated effects of legislation and regulation. In 1692 the English philosopher John Locke, a forerunner of modern economists, urged the defeat of a parliamentary bill desi
gned to cut the maximum permissible rate of interest from 6 percent to 4 percent. Insurance is controlled by the courts, through appellate decisions, and by governmental agencies, through statute and regulation. Compliance with the appellate decisions, statutes, and regulations—different in the various states—is exceedingly difficult and expensive.
The business of insurance is, unfortunately, subject to the law of unintended consequences as if it were on steroids.
“The Compact Book of Adjusting Property Insurance Claims – Second Edition”
A Manual for the First Party Property Insurance Adjuster
The insurance adjuster is not mentioned in a policy of insurance. The obligation to investigate and prove a claim falls on the insured. Standard first party property insurance policies, based upon the New York Standard Fire Insurance policy, contain conditions that require the insured to, within sixty days of the loss, submit a sworn proof of loss to prove to the insurer the facts and amount of loss.
The policy allows the insurer to then, and only then, respond to the insured’s proof of loss. The insurer can then either accept or reject the proof submitted by the insured.
Technically, if the wording of the policy was followed literally the insurer could sit back, do nothing, and wait for the proof. If the insured was late in submitting the proof the insurer could reject the claim. If the insured submits a timely proof of loss the insurer could either accept or reject the proof of loss. If the insurer rejected the proof of loss the insured could either send a new one or give up and gain nothing from the claim. Suit on the policy would be difficult because the policy contract limited the right to sue to times when the proof of loss condition had been met.
Insureds and insurers were not happy with that system. It made it too difficult for a lay person to successfully present a claim. The system, as written into the standard fire policy seemed to run counter to the covenant of good faith and fair dealing that had been the basis of the insurance contract for centuries. Most insurers understood that their insureds were mostly incapable of complying with the strict enforcement of the policy conditions. To fulfill the covenant of good faith and fair dealing insurers created the insurance adjuster to fulfill its obligation to deal fairly and in good faith with the insured.
The Second edition adds new material from 2018 and 2019, is easier to use and more compact than the original.
“The Compact Book on Adjusting Liability Claims, Second Edition”
A Handbook for the Liability Claims Adjuster
This Compact Book of Adjusting Liability Claims is designed to provide the new adjuster with a basic grounding in what is needed to become a competent and effective insurance adjuster. It is also available as a refresher for the experienced adjuster.
The liability claims adjuster quickly learns that there is little difficulty with a claimant (the person alleging bodily injury or property damage against a person insured) if the claim is paid as demanded. The insured may be unhappy if the claimant’s claim is paid as presented since most do not believe they did anything wrong or fear an increase in premiums charged for subsequent policies.
The adjuster must be prepared to salve the insured’s emotions, explain why in the law and the policy it was appropriate to pay the claimant and that the settlement is in the best interest of both the insured and the insurer the adjuster represents.
The adjuster knows, and must be prepared to explain to an insured, that if a claim is resisted or denied the claimant will be unhappy, will probably file suit. If not promptly settled the claimant’s lawyers will rake the insured over the coals to prove that the insured is liable for the claimant’s injuries. The litigation will take time, effort, and money to establish the extent of the injuries and who is responsible for the injuries. Failure to settle promptly can cost the insured his or her reputation and will certainly cost the insurer much more than the claim could have been resolved for had it been resolved before the claimant retained a lawyer.
“Arson-For-Profit Fire at the Cowboy Bar & Grill”
A true crime novel based on the experience of the author, Barry Zalma, who for more than 51 years has acted for insurers who were faced with arson-for-profit, one of the most dangerous insurance fraud schemes. The book explains how an insurance claims adjuster, working with a fire cause and origin expert, a forensic accountant and insurance coverage lawyer, were able to defeat an arson-for-profit scheme and obtain a judgment requiring the perpetrator to take nothing and repay the insurer all of its expenses in defeating the claim.