Friday, August 15, 2008

Drafting a demand letter to your insurer

In an earlier post I discussed how a 93A demand letter can help you if your insurer is acting in bad faith. This post discusses what you should say in a demand letter.

Your letter should be addressed to the adjuster you have been dealing with at the insurance company, and should be sent by first class mail and certified mail, return receipt requested. You should reference your claim number, which will be at the top of any correspondence sent to you by the insurer.

You should start the letter with, "This letter is a demand for settlement [or whatever you are asking for] of the above-referenced claim pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D.

You should then state, "Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, you are required to respond to this letter with a reasonable offer of settlement within 30 days. Failure to do so may result in your being liable for treble damages and my costs and attorney's fees."

You should then state what you are seeking insurance coverage for. Even if you have said this in previous correspondence, you should repeat it here. You should describe what happened; who is responsible (if applicable) and why; why the insurer has to pay the loss; and what your damages are. You should reference and include any supporting documentation.

You should discuss the history of correspondence or negotiations with the insurance company. This should include how and when you first notified the insurer of the claim, how the insurer responded, and all communications since then--at least to the extent that those communications support your claim that the insurer has not been properly responsive to your request for coverage.

You should state that the insurer's actions have violated Mass. Gen. Laws chs. 93A and 176D. You should specifically list any applicable subsections of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D § 3(9). (If you click on the link, scroll down to (9).)

Finally, you should state the amount you are seeking in settlement (your "demand").

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