Two Louisiana insurance issues certified — UPDATED

Withdrawing an earlier panel opinion, the Fifth Circuit certified two insurance questions to the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2014, which have now been answered:

1.  Whether an insurer can be liable for a bad-faith failure-to-settle claim when it never received a firm settlement offer.  (The Fifth Circuit noted that a revised statute imposed “an affirmative duty . . . to make a reasonable effort to settle claims,” drawing into question prior case law in the area.)  The Louisiana Supreme Court said: “Having determined that the plain language supports the existence of a cause of action in favor of the insured under [the revised statute], we answer this question affirmatively.”

2.  Whether an insurer can be liable for “misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts that are not related to the insurance policy’s coverage” — namely, the status of a claim and related settlement negotiations.  The answer: ” An insurer can be found liable under [the statute] for misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts that are not related to the insurance policy’s coverage; the statute prohibits the misrepresentation of ‘pertinent facts,’ without restriction to facts ‘relating to any coverages.'”

Accordingly, the Fifth Circuit remanded for further proceedings in Kelly v. State Farm, No. 12-31064 (May 29, 2015, unpublished).

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