On August 6, 2008, the Colorado Insurance Fair Conduct Act went into effect. See C.R.S. § 10-3-1115 and § 10-3-1116. Generally speaking, the Act provides that an insurance company which “unreasonably” delays or denies paying a claim is liable for twice the amount of the claim plus attorney fees and costs. Importantly, this law only applies to “first-party” claimants and would not include insurance companies defending the at-fault party in a traditional auto accident case. The law does, however, apply to first-party claims like uninsured and underinsured motorists (UM/UIM) cases. The law also applies to med-pay claims. The easy way to keep this straight is the insurance company must only be reasonable to the person that has the contract with them. This new law provides an obvious incentive for insurance companies to do the right thing in the first place. We shall see what effect, of any, the law has on how insurance companies operate in Colorado.
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