Insured May Not File Suit Against Insurers Under Unfair Competition Law Based on Allegedly Wrongful Denial of Benefits to Other Policyholders

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In its recent decision in Schwartz v. Provident Life and Accident Insurance Co., the California Court of Appeals held that, in order to have standing to pursue a claim under California’s “Unfair Competition Law” (Bus. & Prof. Code, section 17200 or “UCL”), an insured plaintiff must have suffered injury in fact and cannot rely on alleged wrongful denial of benefits to other policyholders. Although this decision limits the availability of remedies for prospective injuries to an insured, it does leave open the possibility that courts will allow insured to bring claims against insurers under the UCL where the plaintiff has suffered actual harm.

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