NAII To File Amicus Brief in Claims Handling Case

January 19, 2001

The California Court of Appeal has requested that the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) file an amicus brief in a case that addresses controversial public policy issues regarding claims handling and liability.

The case, Adelman v. Associated International Insurance Company, focuses on whether parties who are not insureds under an insurance contract may sue an insurer based on the company’s alleged negligence in delaying the payment of insurance benefits to an insured party.

According to NAII Vice President and Western Regional Manager Sam Sorich, a decision by the Court to expand liability exposure for insurers could mean “drastically reduced availability of insurance in California.” The case involves a condominium complex that was damaged during the Northridge earthquake. The condominium association sued its insurer, Associated International, after a dispute arose on the claim and payment was delayed.

The Superior Court granted Associated International’s request for a summary judgment after concluding that the insurers’ handling of the claim was reasonable. NAII and the American Insurance Association submitted the amicus brief to the Court on Jan. 5. “Considering the critical liability issues that will be decided by the Court and the subsequent possible damage to California’s public policy, NAII takes seriously its responsibility to provide accurate and well-reasoned information to aid the court in reaching its decision,” Sorich stated.

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