Does an insurer have an obligation to explain to an insured the consequences of a settlement offer made by the insured?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Crane, 212 Cal.App.3d 793, 260 Cal.Rptr. 830 (Cal. App. 1989):

We see no reason why the insurer should not have an obligation to explain the ramifications of such a settlement offer to its insured, since, "The insurer, in deciding whether a claim should be compromised, must take into account the interest of the insured and give it at least as much consideration as it does to its own interest. [Citation.]" Comunale v. Traders & General Ins. Co., supra, 50 Cal.2d at p. 659, 328 P.2d 198.) We think that, having received such an explanation, insureds will realize disclosure of their assets to their insurer is necessary and appropriate. In any event, in the rare case in which an insured would refuse to disclose his or her assets to the insurer, under the subject policy the insurer can stop the running of prejudgment interest by depositing the policy limits in court. (See fn. 1, ante.) 3

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