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Massachusetts Diminished Value

Massachusetts Diminished ValueUpdate 03/31/2016

Below is correspondence we received from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance:

John A. O’Herron : Tony. The bottom line is there is no requirement for an insurance carrier in Massachusetts to offer diminished value, regardless of whether it is a third party claim or not. 

Tony Rached: So, if a client reaches out to me requesting assistance in a DV claim, I could tell them that as far as the MA DOI  is concerned, no foul play if carriers reject to pay DV and to go consult with a lawyer, would that be fair?

John A. O’Herron : Yes, that would be fair. You may also have people contact me directly. I would be fine with that.

John A. O’Herron
Insurance Examiner II, Consumer Services

Massachusetts Division of Insurance
1000 Washington Street, Suite 810
Boston, MA 02118-6200

(617) 521-7456  

john.oherron@state.ma.us

Needless to say, this is very troubling news from the MA DOI. 

In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations on torts is 3 years, this means that you need to file suit against the at fault driver within 3 years of the accident.

 

If the insurance company is offering you an unfair loss in value amount, you need to hire an independent appraiser to rebut their valuation.

 

You can also escalate the claim by contacting the Massachusetts Insurance Commissioner.

 

To get the process started and to get a free estimate, please fill out the form below.

Insurance Bad Faith in Massachusetts

 

Citation: Mass.Gen.L. Ch.93A,§9 & Ch.176D,§3(g)

 

Note: No subsection (g) of Ch. 176D §3 is identifiable.

 

PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT

TITLE XV REGULATION OF TRADE

CHAPTER 93A REGULATION OF BUSINESS PRACTICES FOR CONSUMERS PROTECTION

Section 9Civil actions and remedies; class action; demand for relief; damages; costs; exhausting administrative remedies

Section 9. (1) Any person, other than a person entitled to bring action under section eleven of this chapter, who has been injured by another person’s use or employment of any method, act or practice declared to be unlawful by section two or any rule or regulation issued thereunder or any person whose rights are affected by another person violating the provisions of clause (9) of section three of chapter one hundred and seventy-six D may bring an action in the superior court, or in the housing court as provided in section three of chapter one hundred and eighty-five C whether by way of original complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim or third party action, for damages and such equitable relief, including an injunction, as the court deems to be necessary and proper.

(2) Any persons entitled to bring such action may, if the use or employment of the unfair or deceptive act or practice has caused similar injury to numerous other persons similarly situated and if the court finds in a preliminary hearing that he adequately and fairly represents such other persons, bring the action on behalf of himself and such other similarly injured and situated persons; the court shall require that notice of such action be given to unnamed petitioners in the most effective practicable manner. Such action shall not be dismissed, settled or compromised without the approval of the court, and notice of any proposed dismissal, settlement or compromise shall be given to all members of the class of petitioners in such manner as the court directs.

(3) At least thirty days prior to the filing of any such action, a written demand for relief, identifying the claimant and reasonably describing the unfair or deceptive act or practice relied upon and the injury suffered, shall be mailed or delivered to any prospective respondent. Any person receiving such a demand for relief who, within thirty days of the mailing or delivery of the demand for relief, makes a written tender of settlement which is rejected by the claimant may, in any subsequent action, file the written tender and an affidavit concerning its rejection and thereby limit any recovery to the relief tendered if the court finds that the relief tendered was reasonable in relation to the injury actually suffered by the petitioner. In all other cases, if the court finds for the petitioner, recovery shall be in the amount of actual damages or twenty-five dollars, whichever is greater; or up to three but not less than two times such amount if the court finds that the use or employment of the act or practice was a willful or knowing violation of said section two or that the refusal to grant relief upon demand was made in bad faith with knowledge or reason to know that the act or practice complained of violated said section two. For the purposes of this chapter, the amount of actual damages to be multiplied by the court shall be the amount of the judgment on all claims arising out of the same and underlying transaction or occurrence, regardless of the existence or nonexistence of insurance coverage available in payment of the claim. In addition, the court shall award such other equitable relief, including an injunction, as it deems to be necessary and proper. The demand requirements of this paragraph shall not apply if the claim is asserted by way of counterclaim or cross-claim, or if the prospective respondent does not maintain a place of business or does not keep assets within the commonwealth, but such respondent may otherwise employ the provisions of this section by making a written offer of relief and paying the rejected tender into court as soon as practicable after receiving notice of an action commenced under this section. Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, if the court finds any method, act or practice unlawful with regard to any security or any contract of sale of a commodity for future delivery as defined in section two, and if the court finds for the petitioner, recovery shall be in the amount of actual damages.

(3A) A person may assert a claim under this section in a district court, whether by way of original complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party action, for money damages only. Said damages may include double or treble damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, as herein provided. The demand requirements and provision for tender of offer of settlement provided in paragraph (3) shall also be applicable under this paragraph, except that no rights to equitable relief shall be created under this paragraph, nor shall a person asserting a claim hereunder be able to assert any claim on behalf of other similarly injured and situated persons as provided in paragraph (2).

(4) If the court finds in any action commenced hereunder that there has been a violation of section two, the petitioner shall, in addition to other relief provided for by this section and irrespective of the amount in controversy, be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in connection with said action; provided, however, the court shall deny recovery of attorney’s fees and costs which are incurred after the rejection of a reasonable written offer of settlement made within thirty days of the mailing or delivery of the written demand for relief required by this section.

[There is no paragraph (5).]

(6) Any person entitled to bring an action under this section shall not be required to initiate, pursue or exhaust any remedy established by any regulation, administrative procedure, local, state or federal law or statute or the common law in order to bring an action under this section or to obtain injunctive relief or recover damages or attorney’s fees or costs or other relief as provided in this section. Failure to exhaust administrative remedies shall not be a defense to any proceeding under this section, except as provided in paragraph seven.

(7) The court may upon motion by the respondent before the time for answering and after a hearing suspend proceedings brought under this section to permit the respondent to initiate action in which the petitioner shall be named a party before any appropriate regulatory board or officer providing adjudicatory hearings to complainants if the respondent’s evidence indicates that:

(a) there is a substantial likelihood that final action by the court favorable to the petitioner would require of the respondent conduct or practices that would disrupt or be inconsistent with a regulatory scheme that regulates or covers the actions or transactions complained of by the petitioner established and administered under law by any state or federal regulatory board or officer acting under statutory authority of the commonwealth or of the United States; or

(b) that said regulatory board or officer has a substantial interest in reviewing said transactions or actions prior to judicial action under this chapter and that the said regulatory board or officer has the power to provide substantially the relief sought by the petitioner and the class, if any, which the petitioner represents, under this section.

Upon suspending proceedings under this section the court may enter any interlocutory or temporary orders it deems necessary and proper pending final action by the regulatory board or officer and trial, if any, in the court, including issuance of injunctions, certification of a class, and orders concerning the presentation of the matter to the regulatory board or officer. The court shall issue appropriate interlocutory orders, decrees and injunctions to preserve the status quo between the parties pending final action by the regulatory board or officer and trial and shall stay all proceedings in any court or before any regulatory board or officer in which petitioner and respondent are necessarily involved. The court may issue further orders, injunctions or other relief while the matter is before the regulatory board or officer and shall terminate the suspension and bring the matter forward for trial if it finds (a) that proceedings before the regulatory board or officer are unreasonably delayed or otherwise unreasonably prejudicial to the interests of a party before the court, or (b) that the regulatory board or officer has not taken final action within six months of the beginning of the order suspending proceedings under this chapter.

(8) Except as provided in section ten, recovering or failing to recover an award of damages or other relief in any administrative or judicial proceeding, except proceedings authorized by this section, by any person entitled to bring an action under this section, shall not constitute a bar to, or limitation upon relief authorized by this section.

 

 

PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT

TITLE XXII CORPORATIONS

CHAPTER 176D UNFAIR METHODS OF COMPETITION AND UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE ACTS AND PRACTICES IN THE BUSINESS OF INSURANCE

Section 3 Unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices

Section 3. The following are hereby defined as unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance:–

 

(1) Misrepresentations and false advertising of insurance policies: making, issuing, circulating, or causing to be made, issued or circulated, any estimate, illustration, circular or statement which:–

(a) Misrepresents the benefits, advantages, conditions, or terms of any insurance policy;

(b) Misrepresents the dividends or shares of the surplus to be received on any insurance policy;

(c) Makes any false or misleading statements as to the dividends or share or surplus previously paid on any insurance policy;

(d) Misleads or misrepresents the financial condition of any person or the legal reserve system upon which any life insurer operates;

(e) Uses any name or title of any insurance policy or class of insurance policies misrepresenting the true nature thereof;

(f) Misrepresents for the purpose of inducing or tending to induce the lapse, forfeiture, exchange, conversion, or surrender of any insurance policy;

(g) Misrepresents for the purpose of effecting a pledge or assignment of or effecting a loan against any insurance policy; or

(h) Misrepresents any insurance policy as being shares of stock.

(2) False information and advertising generally: making, publishing, disseminating, circulating, or placing before the public, or causing, directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, or placed before the public, in newspaper, magazine or other publication, or in the form of a notice, circular, pamphlet, letter or poster or over any radio or television station, or in any other way, an advertisement, announcement or statement containing any assertion, representation or statement with respect to the business of insurance or with respect to any person in the conduct of his insurance business, which is untrue, deceptive or misleading.

(3) Defamation: making, publishing, disseminating, or circulating, directly or indirectly, or aiding, abetting or encouraging the making, publishing, disseminating or circulating of any oral or written statement or any pamphlet, circular, article or literature which is false, or maliciously critical of or derogatory to the financial condition of any person, and which is calculated to injure such person.

(4) Boycott, coercion and intimidation: (a) entering into an agreement to commit, or by concerted action committing, an act of boycott, coercion or intimidation resulting in or tending to result in unreasonable restraint of, or monopoly in, the business of insurance; (b) an refusal by a nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance or health maintenance organization to negotiate, contract or affiliate with a health care facility or provider because of such facility’s or provider’s contracts, type of provider licensure or affiliations with any other nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company or health maintenance organization; or (c) an nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company or health maintenance organization establishing the price to be paid to any health care facility or provider by reference to the price paid, or the average of prices paid, to such facility or provider under a contract or contracts with any other nonprofit hospital service corporation, medical service corporation, insurance company, health maintenance organization or preferred provider arrangement.

(5) False statements and entries: (a) knowingly filing with any supervisory or other public official, or knowingly making, publishing, disseminating, circulating or delivering to any person, or placing before the public, or knowingly causing directly or indirectly, to be made, published, disseminated, circulated, delivered to any person, or placed before the public, any false material statement of fact as to the financial condition of a person; or (b) knowingly making any false entry of a material fact in any book, report or statement of any person or knowingly omitting to make a true entry of any material fact pertaining to the business of such person in any book, report or statement of such person.

(6) Stock operations and advisory board contracts: issuing or delivering or permitting agents, officers or employees to issue or deliver, agency company stock or other capital stock, or benefit certificates or shares in any common-law corporation, securities or any special or advisory board contracts or other contracts of any kind promising returns and profits as an inducement to insurance.

(7) Unfair discrimination: (a) making or permitting any unfair discrimination between individuals of the same class and equal expectation of life in the rates charged for any contract of life insurance or of life annuity or in the dividends or other benefits payable thereon, or in any other of the terms and conditions of such contract; or (b) making or permitting any unfair discrimination between individuals of the same class and of essentially the same hazard in the amount of premium, policy fees, or rates charged for any policy or contract of accident or health insurance or in the benefits payable thereunder, or in any of the terms or conditions of such contract, or in any other manner whatever.

(8) Rebates: Except as otherwise expressly provided by law, knowingly permitting or offering to make or making any insurance contract, including but not limited to a contract for life insurance, life annuity or accident and health insurance, or agreement as to such contract other than as plainly expressed in the insurance contract issued thereon, or paying or allowing, or giving or offering to pay, allow, or give, directly or indirectly, as inducement to such insurance or annuity any rebate of premiums payable on the contract, or any special favor or advantage in the dividends or other benefits thereon, or any valuable consideration or inducement whatever not specified in the contract; or giving, or selling, or purchasing or offering to give, sell, or purchase as inducement to such insurance contract, or annuity or in connection therewith, any stocks, bonds, or other securities of any insurance company or other corporation, association, or partnership, or any dividends or profits accrued thereon, or anything of value whatsoever not specified in the contract.

Nothing in clauses (7) or (8) of this subsection shall be construed as including within the definition of discrimination or rebates any of the following practices:–(i) in the case of any contract of life insurance or life annuity, paying bonuses to policyholders or otherwise abating their premiums in whole or in part out of surplus accumulated from nonparticipating insurance, provided that any such bonuses or abatement of premiums shall be fair and equitable to policyholders and for the best interests of the company and its policyholders; (ii) in the case of life insurance policies issued on the industrial debit plan, making allowance to policyholders who have continuously for a specified period made premium payment directly to an office of the insurer in the amount which fairly represents the saving in collection expenses; (iii) readjustment of the rate of premium for a group insurance policy based on the loss or expense experienced thereunder, at the end of the first or any subsequent policy year of insurance thereunder, which may be made retroactive only for such policy year.

(9) Unfair claim settlement practices: An unfair claim settlement practice shall consist of any of the following acts or omissions:

(a) Misrepresenting pertinent facts or insurance policy provisions relating to coverages at issue;

(b) Failing to acknowledge and act reasonably promptly upon communications with respect to claims arising under insurance policies;

(c) Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of claims arising under insurance policies;

(d) Refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation based upon all available information;

(e) Failing to affirm or deny coverage of claims within a reasonable time after proof of loss statements have been completed;

(f) Failing to effectuate prompt, fair and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear;

(g) Compelling insureds to institute litigation to recover amounts due under an insurance policy by offering substantially less than the amounts ultimately recovered in actions brought by such insureds;

(h) Attempting to settle a claim for less than the amount to which a reasonable man would have believed he was entitled by reference to written or printed advertising material accompanying or made part of an application;

(i) Attempting to settle claims on the basis of an application which was altered without notice to, or knowledge or consent of the insured;

(j) Making claims payments to insured or beneficiaries not accompanied by a statement setting forth the coverage under which payments are being made;

(k) Making known to insured or claimants a policy of appealing from arbitration awards in favor of insureds or claimants for the purpose of compelling them to accept settlements of compromises less than the amount awarded in arbitration;

(l) Delaying the investigation or payment of claims by requiring that an insured or claimant, or the physician of either, submit a preliminary claim report and then requiring the subsequent submission of formal proof of loss forms, both of which submissions contain substantially the same information;

(m) Failing to settle claims promptly, where liability has become reasonably clear, under one portion of the insurance policy coverage in order to influence settlements under other portions of the insurance policy coverage; or

(n) Failing to provide promptly a reasonable explanation of the basis in the insurance policy in relation to the facts or applicable law for denial of a claim or for the offer of a compromise settlement.

(10) Failure to maintain complaint handling procedures; failure of any person to maintain a complete record of all of the complaints which it has received since the date of its last examination, which record shall indicate in such form and detail as the commissioner may from time to time prescribe, the total number of complaints, their classification by line of insurance, and the nature, disposition, and time of processing of each complaint. For purposes of this subsection, “complaint” shall mean any written communication primarily expressing a grievance. Agents, brokers and adjusters shall maintain any written communications received by them which express a grievance for a period of two years from receipt, with a record of their disposition, which shall be available for examination by the commissioner at any time.

(11) Misrepresentation in insurance applications: making false or fraudulent statements or representations on or relative to an application for an insurance policy, for the purpose of obtaining a fee, commission, money, or other benefit from any insurers, agent, broker, or

(12) A violation of section 2B, 95, 113X, 181 to 183, inclusive, 187B to 187D, inclusive, 189, 193E or 193K of chapter 175.