Alaska law sets out a timetable for insurers to promptly settle claims. An insurer that fails to meet requirements under the Unfair Claim Settlement Acts and
Practices faces disciplinary action including the possibility of fines or revocation of the insurer’s license to sell insurance in Alaska.
Keep a record of your contact with your agent
throughout the claims process, including who you talked to and when, what was discussed, etc. Follow your verbal claim
notification up with written notice.
Your insurer may acknowledge your claim by paying the claim, requesting additional information, or providing contact information of the person handling
If the investigation cannot be completed within 30 working days (and the matter is not in litigation), your insurer must advise you in writing, explaining why, and the anticipated time to complete.
Your insurer must notify you
every 45 days of any additional extensions required until the investigation of your claim is completed.
An insurer must provide you with a written acknowledgement of the receipt of your claim, including the name and contact information of the person who will be handling your claim, within 10 working days of receiving your claim.
See 3 AAC 26.040(a)(1) and (b)(1).
An insurer must complete its investigation of your claim within 30 working days, unless the claim cannot be reasonably completed using due diligence.
See 3 AAC 26.050(a)(7).
If you have a property or motor vehicle claim, the insurer must provide you with a reasonable written explanation of the valuation of damages to the property/motor vehicle.
See 3 AAC 26.080(a)(2), 3 AAC 26.080(b)(1), 3 AAC 26.090(a)(2), 3 AAC 26.090(b)(1).
An insurer may not deny your claim if a risk, hazard, or contingency insured against is the dominant cause of the loss and the denial occurs because another risk, hazard, or contingency excluded under the policy is also in a chain of causes but operates on a secondary basis.
See AS 21.36.096.
If a person adjusting or settling your claim chooses to have your property/motor vehicle repaired by a specific contractor or facility, that person shall guarantee the repairs and cause the damaged property/motor vehicles to be restored to its condition before the loss, at no additional cost to the claimant, and cause the repairs to be completed within a reasonable time.
See 3 AAC 26.080(f), 3 AAC 26.090(f).
First-party claims involve claims for which you are seeking payment from your own insurance policy.
For a first-party claim, if the claim or a portion of the claim is not in dispute, your insurer must pay you the portion not in dispute within 30 working days of receiving the properly executed statement of claim, proof of loss, or other acceptable evidence of loss.
See 3 AAC 26.070(a)(2).
For a first-party claim, an insurer must disclose to you all relevant benefits and other provisions of coverage under which your claim may be covered.
See 3 AAC 26.060(1).
For a first-party claim, if your motor vehicle is a total loss and your policy coverage provides for the adjustment of a total loss on the basis of actual cash value or replacement with a vehicle of like kind and quality, the insurer must utilize a settlement method that either 1) offers a comparable and available replacement vehicle including applicable taxes, license fees, destination or delivery charges and other fees incident to the transfer of ownership at no cost to you other than your deductable or 2) makes a cash settlement based on the actual cost to purchase a comparable vehicle.
See 3 AAC 26.080(a)(1).
For a first-party claim, if your property claim is a total loss and your policy coverage provides for the adjustment of a total loss on the basis of actual cash value or replacement with other property of like kind and quality, the insurer must utilize a settlement method that either 1) offers a comparable and available replacement property including all applicable taxes, charges, and other fees incident to the transfer of ownership at no cost to you other than your deductable or 2) makes a cash settlement based on the actual cost of comparable property.
See 3 AAC 26.090(a)(1).
The appraisal clause in your insurance policy provides a means of resolving differences between you and the insurance company regarding the value of your property.
Alaska law requires that disputes with your insurance company about the value of a property loss you suffer be settled using an appraisal process.
In an appraisal, you and your insurance company each select an appraiser to represent you. The two appraisers then select an impartial umpire.
The two appraisers separately
state the value they place on your loss. If the appraisers agree on the amount of your loss, the agreed upon amount will be binding on you and your insurance company.
If the two
appraisers fail to agree on the amount of your loss, then they are required to promptly submit their differences to the umpire. A decision agreed to by one of the appraisers and
the umpire will be binding on you and your insurance company.
You and your insurance company each pay the expenses for your own appraiser. The umpire determines who is responsible for paying all other expenses.
Alaska is unique in that the Legislature has provided by statute for an award of partial attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in a lawsuit. This statute is implemented
under Alaska Rules of Civil Procedures, Rule 82. The amount of attorney’s fees awarded is set out in a schedule in the rule.
If you are sued and an injured third party obtains a judgment against you in an amount that exceeds the limit of liability of your policy, you may be responsible for paying
part of the Alaska Civil Rule 82 attorney’s fees and costs that are awarded by the court. The amount of Civil Rule 82 costs and fees you may be responsible for paying is
calculated based upon the amount of the judgment in excess of the stated limit of liability in your policy.
Simply put, your insurance company may not pay all Alaska Civil Rule 82 attorney’s fees in a lawsuit filed against you. You may be required to pay part of these attorney
fees without the assistance of your insurer.