January 22, 2019

Washington Bad Faith Law at a Glance 2019

Washington state can be a difficult jurisdiction for insurers. Insurers’ duties of care are sometimes interpreted or applied quite broadly, and if an insurer breaches those duties, it can be subjected to tort damages, coverage by estoppel, treble damages, and an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees.

To help insurers avoid or mitigate their extra-contractual exposure, Clyde & Co’s Bob Meyers prepared Washington Bad Faith Law at a Glance, arguably the seminal and most comprehensive resource on Washington insurance bad faith law. In his paper, Mr. Meyers cites notable Washington authorities relating to common law bad faith, the Consumer Protection Act, and the Insurance Fair Conduct Act. For insurers’ ease of reference, he also includes excerpts from notable Washington insurance statutes and regulations. The authorities addressed in the paper are illustrative and not exhaustive.

In the 2019 Edition, Mr. Meyers includes substantial new content that will be of interest to any insurer that has potential exposure in Washington, including authorities addressing [1] the potential consequences if an insurer commits bad faith by breaching its duty to settle, [2] statute of limitations and contractual limitations defenses, [3] an insurer's procedural alternatives if Washington is an inappropriate or inconvenient forum in which to litigate bad faith issues, [4] the enforceability of foreign judgments in insurance cases, [5] choice of law vis-à-vis attorney-client privilege issues, [6] the effect of insurance litigation on an insurer's claim-handling duties, and [7] the discoverability of insurers' employee personnel files. He also discusses recently filed Washington cases that address the application of equitable estoppel to an insurer's coverage positions, the recoverability of emotional distress damages, the fraud defense to an insured's extra-contractual claims, the interpretation of "denial of payment of benefits" under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, and the consequences of an insurer's attorney's involvement in claim-handling activities.

Download our Washington Bad Faith Law at a Glance white paper to learn how you may be able to avoid or mitigate your extra-contractual exposure.