Insurance Claim Games
An insurance company has a duty to use good faith and reasonable care in evaluating a case for settlement. When there is an opportunity to settle the case within the policy coverage, the company's decision to reject this opportunity is justified only if the insurance company has undertaken an honest and full investigation of the facts. Because the company has the exclusive power to make all decisions respecting settlement, it must give equal weight to the insured's economic interest as it does to its own economic interest.
In evaluating the company's decision, factors to be considered include the severity of the plaintiff's injuries giving rise to the likelihood of a verdict greatly in excess of policy limits; lack of proper and adequate investigation of the circumstances surrounding the accident; lack of skillful evaluation of the plaintiff's disability; failure of the company to inform the insured of a compromise offer within or near the policy limits; pressure by the company on the insured to make a contribution towards a compromise settlement within the policy limits, as an inducement to settlement by the company; and actions which demonstrate a greater concern for the company's monetary interest than the financial risk attendant to the insured's predicament.