On September 28, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rendered an opinion adopting a two-part test for proving a claim under Pennsylvania’s bad faith statute. To prevail on a statutory bad faith claim, “the plaintiff must present clear and convincing evidence (1) that the insurer did not have a reasonable basis for denying benefits under the policy and (2) that the insurer knew of or recklessly disregarded its lack of a reasonable basis.” Proof of the insurer’s motive or ill will in denying the claim is not a mandatory prerequisite to establish bad faith. This decision carries an important message: many states have enacted bad faith statutes as a means for insureds to protect themselves against an insurer’s improper conduct, and they should not be subject to a standard of proof so high that it would be nearly impossible for a plaintiff to prevail on their claim.
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Sep 29, 2017