Coblentz plaintiffs cannot control whether the relevant insurance policy provides coverage for the claim at issue, nor can they decide whether an insurer will defend the claim or not, but they certainly can endeavor to accept a reasonable amount from the insured and conduct legitimate negotiations and consummate the settlement in good faith
a claim in good faith
, is required to disclose to its insured as the
Thus, Berges was not a situation where the insurer did not have an adequate opportunity to investigate the claim, or was denied any information requested from the claimant, nor was there any evidence the claimant was not negotiating in good faith
. Therefore, despite the authors' heavy reliance on the dissenting opinion, the facts of that case do not support its premise that the Supreme Court somehow authorized unfair tactics which could set-up bad faith claims.
(7) Missing from this statute, however, is an affirmative, reciprocal obligation on the part of the insured or third-party claimant to likewise act in good faith
in attempting to settle the claim.
Was the insurer (who at the time avoided the policy in good faith
) allowed to maintain the recission after the true facts came to light: does the principle of good faith apply equally to the insurer?
In the Third Edition of Casualty Claims Practice (Irwin Press, 1964), James Donaldson cited an unnamed case in which the court had said, "By asserting in the policy the right to handle all claims against the insured, including the right to make a binding settlement, the insurer assumes a fiduciary position towards the insured and becomes obligated to act in good faith
and with due care in representing the interests of the insured." Donaldson added, "It is for these reasons that the courts place an obligation on the insurer to act in the utmost good faith in dealing with the claim, so that the rights of the insured are not impaired."
This article explores whether an insurance carrier may also be responsible for a punitive damage award against its insured, based on the insured's conduct, as part of a compensatory damage claim in a subsequent action for bad faith against the carrier and, if so, the issues a carrier may encounter while discharging its obligation to its insured to act in good faith
in the defense of an underlying claim involving punitive damages.
(4) Simply put, states that have adopted this tort require insurance companies to act in good faith
, and fairly deal with their insureds.
Courts have held that there is a legal duty implied in both first- and third-party insurance contracts that an insurer must act in good faith
in dealing with its insured.
Rather, the requirement is that it attempt in good faith
to settle a claim when, under all the circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insureds with due regard for the insured's interests.