When you file a claim with your insurance company, the last thing you want is for your claim to be delayed. In Georgia, insurers must obey the guidelines regarding the timeliness of investigations and payments that are found in the state's unfair claims practices laws. If your claim is delayed longer than is allowed by law or for reasons that violate the law, you may file a complaint with the Department of Insurance.
According to Georgia statute 33-6-34, "failing to acknowledge with reasonable promptness pertinent communications with respect to claims arising under its policies" is a violation of the unfair claims settlement practices laws. This means that when you call, write, fax, email or otherwise communicate with your assigned adjuster regarding your claim, you should expect a timely reply. Georgia does not define a specific number of days that constitutes reasonable promptness.
Settlement After Liability Determination
Sometimes delays are inevitable while the insurance company is investigating the facts of a loss and determining who is liable for the damages. However, statute 33-6-34 also states that "not attempting in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims submitted in which liability has become reasonably clear" is illegal. Once the insurer makes a liability determination, you should expect the claim to proceed promptly and fairly, though again Georgia does not define what this means in terms of a number of days.
Request of Claim Forms
In some cases, a claim cannot be settled without the proper execution of certain forms, such as a proof-of-loss form. Georgia makes it illegal to delay a claim by simply refusing to provide the required forms. The statute advises that "failing to provide forms necessary to file claims within 15 calendar days of a request with reasonable explanations regarding their use" is against the law. This means that the insurer must not only give you the required forms but explain how you must fill them out as well.
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