• Bob Siems

2014 Annual Bad Faith Report: Actual Bad Faith Plaintiffs opted for OAH over Circuit Court 8:1.

The MIA has published its 2014 Report on the bad faith statute.

There were some little stuff. Fourteen cases were dismissed for failing to meet the statutory requirements. Dismissals like this disappeared after 2010 (and 2010 only had 1 compared to 14 in 2009). I am sure there's a good reason why they suddenly came back on this scale. I just don't know it yet.

Otherwise, the odds of a merits decision of the remaining cases are basically constant. Insureds had 3 wins, 13 losses, and 10 settlements. Odds of an insurer win stayed constant relative to last year. (In 2013, Insureds had 4 wins, 16 losses, and 14 settlements.) This year, losses are incrementally (3% according to the report) more likely and settlements incrementally (also 3%) less likely.

Also, this year's bad faith merits decisions involved eleven UM/UIM claims and 5 homeowners claim. That's far less diverse than we've seen in the past.

But the big stuff:

I am on record wondering why anyone ever appealed to the Office of Administrative Hearings. As I see the general Insured strategy, the move does not make sense. I am also on record wondering why anyone does not appeal to the Circuit Court and take the jury trial.

But apparently I'm one of the few who think that. Of the sixteen merits decisions, nine appealed. This is slightly better than last year's 50% appeal rate but above the much lower rates before 2013.

Of these appeals, eight went to the Office of Administrative Hearings. That means they waived their jury trial under Thompson. One of them appealed again to the Circuit Court. I can only hope they have some strategy beyond my ken. I would take a jury over a judge when suing an insurer for bad faith almost any day.

Only one person did what I still think is the only logical move and appealed to a jury trial in Circuit Court.

#Statistics #MarylandInsuranceAdministration #Appeals #InsuranceBadFaith

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