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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I have made a claim on a house fire in New Hampshire that occurred

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I have made a claim on a house fire in New Hampshire that occurred on March 6, 2012. We have evidence that the insurance company (Vermont Mutual) told their adjuster of a previous mold claim made by my family about 18 months before the fire. The insurance adjuster then told my public adjuster of the mold claim. We are now in "arbitration" and the independent adjuster representing VM told my representative and a third party umpire that we had a prior mold claim and stated, "they probably pocked the money". Not true as I have the receipts. And what does this have to do with a house totally destroyed by fire with no fault established?
Have our privacy rights been violated in divulging the mold claim to all the parties involved in settling the claim? Clearly, it seems to violate their own privacy policy as stated in the insurance policy. Have state or federal laws been violated?
The mold claim has nothing to do with the fire first off. Second, if they denied your claim based on the prior mold claim, this is arguably what is called a bad faith denial which can make the insurance company liable for punitive damages and attorney's fees. However, it is not a violation of any state or federal privacy laws for them to disclose prior claims on the policy to the adjusters, it is simply bad faith if they are using this as grounds for the denial.

New Hampshire courts state an insurer breaches its duty of good faith and fair dealing when it is established that the insurer’s failure to make prompt payment of a claim was in bad faith and the damages flowing from the delay or failure to pay were foreseeable. See: Lawton v. Great Southwest Fire Ins. Co., 382 A.2d 576 (N.H. 1978). Furthermore, you need to file a complaint with the NH Insurance commissioner because N.H. REV. STAT. § 417.1, et seq., identifies certain unfair or deceptive acts that are prohibited including the failure to promptly, fairly, and equitably settle a claim for which liability has become reasonably clear and, under the statute, a private cause of action exists if the Insurance Commissioner first finds a violation of the statute and serves a cease and desist order on the insurer pursuant to § 417.19I.

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