Practice Area

Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Liability


Houston Harbaugh’s attorneys defend insurers in claims involving breach of contract, underwriting practices, consumer fraud and extra-contractual claims.

We work to help minimize insurers’ exposure to bad faith claims by providing practical counsel that is business-minded and legally sound at the claims handling stage. We strive to minimize the chances of an insured using bad faith allegations as a litigation tactic to force payment on claims that may lack merit. We can help formulate strategies to best handle mediations and settlement conferences, with a vision of avoiding bad faith traps.

Bad faith and extra-contractual claims are among the most complex and high-stakes matters that insurance companies face. These claims, if successful, can expose insurance companies to punitive damages, attorneys’ fee awards, and other damages well in excess of insurance policy limits.

These claims are fact-specific and focus on the insurance company’s conduct and claims handling practices rather than the express provisions of the insurance policy. Bad faith claims are often asserted by policyholders against insurance carriers for, among other things, failure to defend or settle third-party claims, wrongful denial of coverage for first-party claims, and unreasonable delay in claims handling. Our attorneys have years of experience in defending insurance carriers against bad faith claims and have tried to verdict numerous high-stakes bad faith suits, including those arising under the Pennsylvania Bad Faith statute, 42 Pa.C.S. § 8371.

In addition to litigation expertise, our attorneys offer counseling to help maintain good faith claims handling practices in our clients’ operations.

Anthony P. Picadio and Bridget M. Gillespie have authored one of the only treatises on insurance coverage and bad faith law in Pennsylvania: Norton on Insurance Coverage In Pennsylvania, Second Edition, published by PBI Press.

For more information, call 412-281-5060 or send our insurance coverage attorneys an e-mail by completing the contact form on this website.