So far this year, Anderson Law has represented nine clients who have filed complaints under Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act (IFCA) for automobile or personal injury claims. Five of them have been against State Farm Insurance, two against USAA, and one each against Travelers and First National insurance companies. Because of the legal remedies allowed under the IFCA, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, these types of claims are often resolved within months of filing suit.
USAA has a history of aggressive behavior in the administration of its Personal Injury Protection (PIP)/Med-Pay claims. You can see this by searching for “USAA class action” and noting the class action lawsuits that have been filed across the country to attempt to stop such behavior. In fact, a class action lawsuit has recently been filed in Washington State that addresses non-payment and short-payment of medical benefits. However, State Farm seems to be the most aggressive company regarding first-party PIP and UM/UIM claims (their mantra is to “pay what [they] owe”… which is, in Anderson Law’s experience, much less than what their insureds’ think State Farm owes). We have seen them delay automobile medical payments for periods of up to 6 months or more after a car accident and they have routinely stopped medical payments “pending” a PIP exam. We have alleged that both of these practices are violations of the IFCA, specifically RCW 48.30.015 and WAC 284-30-330. If you are fully insured and are seeing these issues, you should consult Ned Stratton or Brian Anderson, both of whom handle IFCA violations.
For a list of recent IFCA filings in Washington State and in Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, see the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s website.