If you feel that your insurance company is unreasonably denying your claims or operating in bad faith, you may be able to file a lawsuit under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA). However, under IFCA, you must adhere to strict timeframes and protocols. Otherwise, your case will be dismissed and you may be forced to refile. If the deadline has passed, then you will not be able to file your suit.
Can You File an IFCA Lawsuit at Any Time?
Under the IFCA, you must provide your insurer with a notice in writing stating the basis of your lawsuit 20 days before you file your lawsuit. The notification must also be sent to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) 20 days before filing your suit.
Within the 20-day notification, you must indicate the basis of your lawsuit – the reason you are filing the lawsuit – and evidence you have that the insurer is in violation of the IFCA. You are required to complete the 20-day IFCA notification sheet as part of your written notification.
The OIC dates the receipt of your 20-day notification, then they create a tracking number for your case. You will see the tracking number posted to the OIC’s website, which is updated weekly.
The 20-Day Requirement is More than 20 Days
While you must wait 20 days to file a lawsuit, it is over 20 days. The OIC requires that you first wait three business days for mailing, then add 20 days to that timeframe to file. For example, if you were to mail on a Friday, the third business day would be Wednesday. So, from that Wednesday you would count 20 days – creating a total of 26 days. Weekends and holidays are not considered “business days.”
Provide a Qualified Basis for Your Claim
To qualify for IFCA, you must have an adequate reason for filing your claim. This basis is presented on the notification form. Note that you are not required to provide any personal information or records at the time when you file your notification. However, you must provide the basis of your claim.
Some qualified reasons for filing an IFCA claim include:
- The insurance company has misrepresented the facts of the claim or your policy provisions
- Your insurance company has not acknowledged or acted in a reasonably prompt manner regarding your claim status or communications
- The company does not have reasonable standards in place for handling claims
- Your insurer is attempting to settle your claim for much less than what a reasonable person would expect to receive
- The insurer is forcing you into litigation without cause
- Your insurer is not paying claims or has unreasonably denied the claim
- Your insurer agreed to a settlement but has put off paying off that settlement without any justified reason
Want to File an IFCA Claim? It is Best if You Work with an IFCA Attorney
While you could download and complete the IFCA 20-day notification yourself, it is in your best interest to work with an attorney experienced in these types of cases. There are strict rules and protocols in place to protect consumers and insurers, and ignoring these protocols could be detrimental to your case.