After a terrible hail storm that hit Waco, Texas back on October 2, 2014, our client, which owns and operates an America’s Best Value Inn franchise, filed suit in McLennan County District Court against their insurance carrier, Steadfast Insurance Company, and its insurance adjuster for mishandling and wrongfully denying what they feel is a rightful claim against their insurance policy.
The hail storm that occurred last October 2 caused substantial structural damage, including damage to the roof, exteriors, interiors, HVAC, and several other structures throughout the property. Immediately after the storm, our client filed a claim under its policy with Steadfast, asking for repair costs. In response to the claim, Steadfast assigned the claim to one of its internal adjusters, but that adjuster was not licensed in Texas, so he assigned the claim to a local adjuster, whom the lawsuit alleges was not properly trained and was ill-equipped to handle the claim in the proper manner.
As such, in their petition, the hotel owner alleges that the adjusters performed a substandard investigation and that the insurance company relied on that substandard investigation. They also note that the adjusters prepared an estimate of damages based on one single visit to the property, which resulted in a gross underestimation as to the extent and value of the hailstorm property damage caused. It was because of this particular investigation that Steadfast completely and wrongfully denied the insured’s claim on November 7, 2014.
In addition to the substandard investigation and inspection, the hotel also alleges in its complaint that the adjusters misrepresented to them that certain damages were not covered under the policy when in fact they were, and that the adjusters failed to provide appropriate information during the claims process, which violated their duties under Texas law, in part because they delayed resolution of the claim. Because of all of the delays and the denial, our clientI was forced to hire its own consultant to evaluate the damages independently, since Steadfast refuses to do so.
Our firm’s hotel owner client has alleged that Steadfast and its adjusters have violated a number of provisions of the Texas Insurance Code, for their delays and denials, as well as for their failure to conduct a reasonable investigation of the claims, by misrepresenting policy coverage and other issues, as well as for their failure to promptly pay a claim. They also allege breach of contract as well as breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing and fraud. This commercial property owner is seeking more than $1 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages for bad faith and fraud, as well as statutory interest and attorneys’ fees.