What is the Wisconsin Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act?
When it comes to insurance companies and your insurance policies, do you know your rights? In Wisconsin, the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act protects WI insurance policyholders from deceptive, unjust, or unreasonable insurance company actions. Very simply, these laws prevent insurance companies from treating you in an unfair way in order to dodge payments, delay claim processes, or shirk other responsibilities.
In many cases, the process of filing an insurance claim in the wake of a fire or other property damage is complicated — and chances are that you have not thoroughly read and understood your insurance policy or filed a similar claim in the past. This gives your insurance company a huge advantage over you, as they can and have used policyholders’ ignorance of the system to save their own company money. To guard against these wrong and inequitable actions, the Wisconsin Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act sets clear standards that call for prompt, fair and equitable settlements between insurance companies and claimants.
More specifically, the Wisconsin Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act states that:
- Insurance companies must fully disclose all benefits and coverages in their customer’s insurance policy.
- Insurance companies cannot misrepresent their policies.
- Insurance companies cannot deny a claim based on arbitrary time limits given to customers to prove their loss or property damage.
- Insurance companies must acknowledge your claim promptly after the claim is filed.
- Insurance companies must provide reasonable assistance during the claims process – which includes promptly supplying customers with appropriate forms and clear instructions.
- Just as claims and other communications must be dealt with promptly, all claim investigations must take place in a reasonable amount of time.
- Insurance companies should not enter into settlement negotiations with a claimant who is not represented by an attorney or who is not an attorney.
- Insurance companies cannot send a settlement to a claimant that is less than the total cost of damages unless the customer agrees.
- Insurance companies cannot force you to travel an unreasonable distance during your claims process.
- If an insurance company denies or delays your claim, they must give you a reasonable explanation.
If you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith and breaking Wisconsin law, talk to a Wisconsin bad faith insurance lawyer about your situation. Contact us today.