03.27.2018

Washington Court of Appeals Holds That An Individual Insurance Adjuster May Be Liable for Bad Faith and Violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act

In Keodalah v. Allstate Insurance Company, No. 75731-8-1 (Mar. 26, 2018), the Washington Court of Appeals held that an insurance adjuster that handles claims may be held individually liable for bad faith and violation of the CPA.  The case involved allegations of bad faith and CPA against an Allstate insurance adjuster in an automobile claim.

 

The insured was involved in a fatal auto accident with a motorcycle, and made a UIM policy limits demand of $25,000.  Allstate assessed the claim and found the insured was 70% at fault, and offered $1,600 to settle the claim.  The adjuster was designated as Allstate’s 30(b)(6) witness and claimed that the insured had run the stop sign and been on his cell phone.  The adjuster later admitted that was not the case.  Allstate then tried to settle the claim for $15,000.  The insured declined.  At trial, the jury found zero liability on behalf of the insured and awarded him $108,868 for injuries, lost wages and medical expenses.  The insured then brought IFCA, bad faith and CPA claims against both Allstate and the adjuster.

 

The trial court dismissed the individual claims.  The Court of Appeals, however, found that the Washington bad faith regulations and CPA both apply to individual adjusters, even if they are working within the scope of their employment.  The court concluded:  “We hold that an individual employee insurance adjuster can be liable for bad faith and a violation of the CPA”.

 

If you have any questions regarding this case, please do not hesitate to contact Soha & Lang, P.S.

 

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Soha and Lang, P.S. or its clients.

Posted by Lind Stapley