New Book from Barry Zalma – The Tort of Bad Faith

The Tort of Bad Faith

What Every Insurance Professional, Every Insurance Coverage Lawyer, Every Plaintiffs Bad Faith Lawyer, and Every Insurance Claims Person Must know About the Tort of Bad Faith 

The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a concept of insurance law at least three centuries old. It first appeared in British jurisprudence in a case decided by Lord Mansfield sitting in the House of Lords as the highest court in Britain. In Carter v. Boehm. 3Burrow, 1905, Lord Mansfield explained that insurance is a contract upon speculation; the special facts upon which the contingent chance is to be computed, lie, most commonly, in the knowledge of the insured only. The underwriter trusts to his representation, and proceeds upon confidence that he does not keep back any circumstance in his knowledge, to mislead the underwriter into a belief that the circumstance does not exist, and to induce him to estimate the risk as if it did not exist.

The keeping back such circumstance is a fraud, and therefore the policy is void. Although the suppression should happen through mistake, without any fraudulent intention, yet still the underwriter is deceived, and the policy is void; because the risk run is really different from the risk understood and intended to be run, at the time of the agreement. [The Chicago v. Thompson, 19 Ill. 578, 1858 WL 5993, 9 Peck 578 (Ill. 1858)] and the contract of insurance is founded on good faith.

Lord Mansfield stated the rule still followed to this day: “Good faith forbids either party by concealing what he privately knows, to draw the other into a bargain, from his ignorance of that fact, and his believing the contrary.
The implied covenant explains that no party to a contract of insurance should do anything to deprive the other of the benefits of the contract.”

For insurance to work; for each insurer to properly evaluate the risks presented; for each insurer to obtain the insurance desired; and for each insured and insurer resolve all claims fairly and equitably they must treat each other with the utmost good faith and do nothing to deprive the other of the benefits of the contract.
Each party to the contract of insurance is expected to treat the other fairly in the acquisition and performance of the contract. For example, the prospective insured is required to answer all questions about the risk he, she or it are asking the insurer to take and about the person the insurer is asked to insure. Similarly, the insurer must honestly, clearly and in good faith explain to the insured(s) the risks the insurer is willing to take and the terms, conditions and provisions of the contract of insurance.

(c) 2022 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 54 years in the insurance business. He is available at and

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