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June 1st marks the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, but disaster season is well underway, producing storms of terrifying magnitude. The two-mile-wide tornado that tore through Moore outside of Oklahoma City on May 20, 2013 claimed at least 24 lives. At press time, members of the Oklahoma National Guard were sifting through rubble for survivors, stalled by thunderstorms and lightning. For adjusters, the scene is eerily familiar. Roughly two years ago, a powerful EF5 twister ripped through Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 people.

Amid the debris and wreckage, claims adjusters must help policyholders piece their lives back together, which can be an emotionally jarring and complicated process. Without handling claims stemming from catastrophes skillfully, insurers can find themselves bombarded with accusations, not to mention plenty of bad press. That’s why it is imperative to continually refine practices while cultivating a culture of “good faith” at your claims organization.

At the recent “Bad Faith Litigation” conference in Philadelphia, expert litigators and high-level insurance executives explored bad-faith trends while reaffirming claims best-practices integral to mitigating such accusations. Present at the conference was Jay Barry Harris, a litigator at Fineman Krekstein & Harris with more than 30 years of experience. Representing both insurers and insureds across the spectrum of coverage and liability disputes over the years, he knows exactly how good intentions can sometimes lead to allegations of bad faith.

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