Proving and Winning a First Party Bad Faith Case in Colorado, Part 3 – The Nuts and Bolts of Discovery

In this part of my series on Proving and Winning a First Party Bad Faith Case in Colorado, I am going to disclose the Request for Production of Documents I recently served upon the insurer’s attorney on a case I am handling in federal court in the Western District of Missouri. I am sharing this information with the hope it will motivate policyholders who have suffered a loss to document every communication with the insurer’s representatives, as well as to share information with the insurer in writing regarding communications the policyholder may have with contractors or any other person who looks at the damage to the policyholder’s property, and building code representatives regarding building codes that must be complied with when replacing or repairing the damages incurred at the policyholder’s property.

Please remember in documenting your claim that insurance companies are profit-making businesses and their employees are not social workers. Their goal is to close your claim quickly and without paying a dime more than necessary. Your adjuster may be friendly but he or she is not your friend. Finally, readers might suggest other documents that should be requested from insurers.

I served the following requests upon opposing counsel in my latest case where United Fire and Casualty Company is the Defendant:

1. Produce the entire United claim file, communications, and documents of every adjuster that worked on Plaintiff’s claim related to the tornado and wind claim which is the subject of this litigation, including but not limited to the branch, regional, and home office claims files, the “field file” including the claim handlers’ notes and handwritten notes, as well as the claims file of all adjusters and independent adjusters.

2. Produce the entire United claim manual(s) in effect during 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 which relate to or may be referred to when investigating or adjusting property losses, tornado and wind claims, including but not limited to the United’s claims handling manual, the claims practices and standards of United, including any manuals for branch claims representatives, the regional office, and manuals for the home office, which relate to or may be referred to when investigating or adjusting property losses, tornado and wind claims.

3. Produce the entire United property claims training manual and materials, including but not limited to training programs for claims employees, both inter-company training programs as well as non-United training programs and materials, all property claims training video tapes, and all information provided to employees on how to avoid bad faith claims, any materials from the Insurance Institute of America, or texts such as “The Claims Environment.”

4. Produce all emails that in any way relate to Plaintiff’s claim, including any separate email communications system apart from the electronic claims file and emails sent via the Internet.
5. Produce all information regarding reserves, including the dates and times reserves were set and changed or adjusted.

6. Produce the United underwriting file for the property located at (property address was provided in my request).

7. Produce all documents related to Plaintiff’s claim contained in the personnel files of the claims handlers in charge of Plaintiff’s claims, as well as supervisors in the chain of command above these claims handlers.

8. Produce all documents identified, referred to, or relied upon in answering Plaintiff’s interrogatories.

9. Produce all documents identified, referred to, or relied upon in developing United’s Answer and/or Affirmative Defenses to Plaintiff’s Complaint.

10. Produce all documents relating to or referencing Plaintiff’s insurance claim.
11. Produce all statements given by a party, oral or written, or court reported, signed or unsigned, to some person or entity other than his/her attorney related to or regarding any issue in Plaintiff’s Complaint, and all correspondence with any third-party regarding or related to Plaintiff’s claim.

12. Produce the entire United Agent’s Manual containing any techniques, training, guidance and/or standards for selling property insurance, commercial property insurance, and/or code upgrade/law and ordinance coverage.

13. Produce United’s Agent(s) file related to Plaintiff’s property.

14. Color copies of all photographs, slides, motion pictures, videotapes, or other photographic reproductions of the premises taken either prior to, at the time of, or after the alleged damage occurred.

15. The file(s) of any individual or entity hired or retained by United to investigate the occurrence and damage alleged.

16. Certified copies of all policies issued by United to Plaintiff for the premises in force at the time of this loss.

17. All documents relating to or referencing United’s policy of insurance with Plaintiff.

18. All correspondence, reports, surveys, appraisals, damage estimates, proof of loss, adjuster’s report(s), or other documents setting forth the damages related to the insured premises as alleged in Plaintiff’s Complaint.

19. Produce the contract or other agreement between United and the agent who took the application from Plaintiff for the insurance for the premises referenced in Plaintiff’s Complaint located at (property address was provided in my request).

The above listed requests were the first 19 I sent. As this is a long blog with much information, please feel free to ask me why I sent each request. In my next blog I will discuss the reasons I sent each and every request. Until next time….

 

Source: http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2014/02/articles/bad-faith/proving-and-winning-a-first-party-bad-faith-case-in-colorado-part-3-the-nuts-and-bolts-of-discovery/

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