Know Your Rights Under Washington’s Insurance Fair Conduct Act

Washington State's Insurance Fair Conduct Act (a/k/a "IFCA") provides important legal protections for insurance policyholders. IFCA was passed by the legislature and then ratified by the voters in 2007. IFCA was enacted based on lengthy testimony in legislative hearings from industry experts and consumer advocates about how insurers abused their policyholders despite existing laws. IFCA …

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Getting What You Pay For With Your Insurance Premiums

People frustrated dealing with their insurance company often wonder what they've been buying when they paid premiums for all those years. Insurance premiums buy you a whole host of benefits beyond just the possibility the insurer might someday pay you for a covered loss. Insurance premiums buy you the promise of peace of mind and …

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Court Ruling Emphasizes Tie Goes to the Policyholder When Interpreting Insurance Policies

Washington insurance law includes a principle that if an insurance policy is ambiguous, i.e., if it can reasonably be read in multiple ways, the court will adopt the reading that is most favorable to the policyholder.  This rule exists because insurance companies are sophisticated enough to draft their insurance policies the way they want, and …

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Know Your Rights – ERISA Claim Deadlines

We've previously blogged about the importance of meeting deadlines in your claim for benefits under an ERISA-governed insurance policy.  Most ERISA plans have strict deadlines for submitting a claim, appealing the insurance company's denial of your claim, and filing a lawsuit.  The deadlines are strict and ERISA is draconian about deadlines - missing them by …

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ERISA Plans Can’t Discriminate Against Domestic Partners, Court Rules

In Washington, and many other states, domestic partners enjoy the same rights and legal protections as spouses.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently confirmed that domestic partnerships' equal treatment under state law extends to ERISA plans. ERISA plans typically give the plan administrator broad discretion to interpret the terms of the plan.  This often …

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