How long can an insurance company delay paying a claim? – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports


(WSVN) – A truck broke through her fence. They had insurance to replace her fence, but the company ground to a halt month after month. Can an insurance company be held liable to pay a claim? That’s why one woman in South Florida called Help Me Howard.

When you walk into Evon’s home, you can’t miss what she calls her wall of fame.

Evon Whitaker: “My sisters, my sister-in-law, my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. It’s Miracle and Brodasia.”

Every day she sees every family member and every big event.

Evon Whitaker: “Family reunions, weddings. Makes you feel good.”

Inside makes her smile. Outside, at the moment, Evon is simmering.

Evon Whitaker: “Why are they giving me the run around? They just have to mend the fence.”

In June, a truck broke through her fence and destroyed it. Unfortunately, the owner of the truck is dead.

Evon Whitaker: “He slashed a knife and went to one side, and their truck went into the fence.”

The driver had insurance. Evon filed a claim with his company, and her fight began.

Evon Whitaker: “And every time I call him, he gives me excuses after excuses: ‘We’re still investigating.’

Evon was told to get estimates, one was $5,800 and one was $5,900.

Evon doesn’t have that much money, but she does need a fence for her Sistrunk Boulevard property.

Evon Whitaker: “It’s not the greatest neighborhood in the world, but it’s not the worst neighborhood in the world, and I really want my fence back.”

After getting nowhere with the insurance company, Evon complained to the state of Florida.

Patrick Fraser: “What did they tell you?”

Evon Whitaker: “That, in so many words, they told me I need a lawyer… and I can’t afford a lawyer.”

After seven months, Evon is now convinced she may never get her fence.

Evon Whitaker: “It’s frustrating. Aggravating, really. They just keep pushing me until I forget it, and I told them, I say, no, I’m never going to stop.”

How long can an insurance company wait to pay a claim, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “First, they have at least 60 days to investigate the merits of the claim, and in some cases longer if it’s a complicated case, but it’s not complicated at all. If the insurance company drags their feet after 60 days, let them know you’re not giving up and will hire an attorney to sue. It will cost the insurance company a lot more money because they have to pay you and your lawyer’s legal fees.”

Evon struggled with Infinity Assurance Insurance Company.

I called Lemper, their parent company in Chicago.

A spokesperson wrote, “Usually we are unable to process a claim until all required information is received from all parties. This can cause delays if multiple claimants are involved.”

A few days later, Evon called me.

Evon Whitaker: “And they sent me a check for $5,800. I’m getting ready to have my fence repaired as soon as possible.”

Evon smiled again at that call to help me Howard.

Evon Whitaker: “So I’m so happy, and I thank you too, Patrick. Tell Howard I say thank you. You are a blessing.”

Thanks, Evon, and glad we could help.

Now, if you want to get a claim paid faster, file with your insurance company because they usually take care of their customers. Of course, you have to pay a deductible and your rates can go up, so you have to decide which option to choose.

A problem left you on the fence? Are you sure you want to help someone? Let us look into your claim and try to open the gate for a solution.

With this Help Ms. Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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