Peerless Insurance Company was recently sued by a drilling company for bath faith. A Riverside County jury found that the Liberty Mutual-backed insurer dragged out payment for nearly a year for a damaged rig.
The insurer was sued by Palm Springs Pump, Inc., a Palm Springs-based water well drilling company. The company made a claim after a large industrial drilling rig suffered a catastrophic failure and collapsed on itself.
The claim was initially processed in the standard way with an expert being sent to investigate. The insurer took up to seven months to acknowledge that the rig collapse was a covered event despite issuing small payments related to the claim. It took nearly a year to pay the drilling company the full amount of the rig.
A jury awarded the company $1.5 million in economic damages and an extra $3.5 million in punitive damages.
Insurance bad faith claims such as this are common throughout California. An insurance policy is a contract between an insurer and the company or individual being insured. Insurance bad faith claims can be filed when an insurer fails to live up to its obligations under a policy, and punitive damages are often awarded when insurers act in an egregious manner.