Congratulations to Sen. Shields and his allies for getting this through.  Somewhat bittersweet, as I’ve reported before.  The need for a bad faith cause of action or direct right action under the Claims Handling statute was brought home yet again for me today when I heard this story: a single-family homebuilder in Dallas was sued by a disgruntled customer, tendered to his insurance company which initially accepted the defense but then yanked the defense (and even tried to prevent the builder from continuing on with the same lawyer) after it hired coverage counsel who advised the insurer not to defend based on a grossly unfair contortion of the allegations against the builder as being excluded, in violation of every precept of Oregon law culminating with the Bresee decision that I blogged about earlier.  Builder had to settle the claim with his own money and then find a lawyer to sue the insurance company, which is (amazingly) still contending that it did nothing wrong.  Fortunately a good friend was willing to take it on contingency.  A perfect example of the “free breach” thinking that carriers in Oregon employ to try to keep as much of their customers’ premiums as they can without having to provide coverage.

Senate votes to hold insurance companies accountable through increased agency authority:

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