Tag: Fire Damage

Commercial Fire Damage Lawyers

Industrial Building Owner Files Lawsuit After Insurance Denial

Our client, an industrial building owner, has filed a lawsuit against Rockhill Insurance Company, International Insurance Company Hannover SE, Antares AUL 1274, Liberty Syndicated LIB 4472, and Vericlaim Inc.

January 2017 Fire

On January 1, 2017, the plaintiff’s property suffered severe damage from a fire that broke out on the property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

On February 14, 2017, authorized adjusting representatives from Vericlaim confirmed that the damages were covered under the policy and approved payment for the damage in an official insurance company estimate of damages. On the same day, plaintiffs accepted the estimate of damages creating a binding and enforceable agreement. This should have led to the conclusion of the claim.

Rockhill, Hannorver, Antares, and Liberty are the insurers on the property. In response to the fire claim, the carriers assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequately and improperly trained. In addition, these representatives violated standard insurance practices when directed by the carriers.

Specifically, the claim was assigned to an adjuster who originally prepared the accepted estimate of damages. The carriers refused to honor their coverage representation, and the adjuster failed to stand by the commitment he had made on behalf of the carriers.

Adjusters on the claim failed to perform a thorough investigation of the claim and instead delayed the claim payment and pointed to an approved vendor report in order to reach the non-payment outcome that they desired.

After the February 14 estimate of damages, the carriers and their administrators engaged in deceptive and unfair claim practices by attempting to leverage the claim amount that they knew they owed. The carriers and the adjusters on the claim ignored the promises they made on the claim payment and attempted to invoke appraisal as part of an unlawful negotiating process.

Because the carriers and adjusters confirmed coverage and the undisputed amount owed on the claim to plaintiff on February 14, 2017, they waived any right to later disclaim coverage and put the entire claim in an expensive and wasteful appraisal process.

As a result, the carriers crossly underpaid the claim and the plaintiff has still not been fully paid under the policy. The plaintiff was forced to hire a consultant to properly evaluate the property damage because the carriers refused to do so.

On June 14, 2017, the carriers attempted to place this matter into appraisal, which is in direct violation of the Texas Insurance Code, the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing, and is in breach of their contractual commitments. To put it simply, the carriers chose to act unreasonably in refusing to issue the claim payment their authorized representative confirmed and the plaintiff accepted.

Because of the carriers’ wrongful denials, the plaintiff has been unable to make necessary repairs to the property, which has caused additional damage.

The Carriers Acted In Bad Faith

Our client alleges numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including the failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim and misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff. The plaintiff also states the carriers are in breach of the insurance contract and have violated the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

Commercial Fire Damage Lawyers

Insurance companies will often do anything to avoid paying out on claims. When an insurance company operates in bad faith, you will need experienced commercial fire damage lawyers to help you get what you are rightfully owed under your policy. If your insurance company is denying, delaying, or under-paying your fire damage claim, contact Raizner Slania immediately.

Houston Fire Insurance Claim Attorneys

Houston Builder Files Fire Damage Insurance Claim Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit against American Zurich Insurance Company and Vericlaim, Inc. on behalf of a local Houston builder whose fire damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied.

May 2016 Fire

On May 13, 2016, a fire broke out at the plaintiff’s property, which consisted of structures under construction at the time of the fire. The fire damaged the structure, plumbing, windows, walls, floors, frame, roof, exterior, and interior of the property. The plaintiff filed an insurance claim under its policy with Zurich for damages to the property caused by the fire.

The plaintiff and its representatives presented the full scope of damages consistent with the current state of construction to Zurich. However, Zurich improperly applied a co-insurance penalty to the loss and falsely represented that the plaintiff was underinsured on its builder’s risk insurance policy. Zurich and Vericlaim also misinterpreted policy provisions concerning the reporting of construction status and property values.

In response to the claim, Zurich assigned the claim to Vericlaim, which in turn assigned the claim to an employee. Vericlaim and the employee failed to perform a thorough investigation of the property and improperly ignored clear damages covered by the policy. Additionally, the employee failed to hire qualified experts to appropriately assess the full extent of damages.

Vericlaim and its employee sought to deny the plaintiff’s claim and conducted an outcome-oriented investigation geared toward concluding the plaintiff was underinsured for the loss, which would result in a large financial benefit to Zurich.

Zurich relied solely on Vericlaim and its employee’s investigation of the claim to determine what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. As a result of the haphazard investigation, the plaintiff has been grossly underpaid for property damages. Zurich and Vericlaim engaged in illegal insurance claim settlement practices by refusing to accept responsibility for the loss.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

The plaintiff cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims, failure to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and misrepresentation of the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to plaintiff.

Houston Fire Insurance Claim Attorneys

 If your commercial insurance carrier has denied, delayed, or underpaid your fire damage insurance claim, the experienced Houston fire insurance claim attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Apartment Insurance Claim Lawyers

Raizner Slania Files Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit On Behalf of Harris County Apartment Complex

Raizner Slania filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit in Harris County against Ted W. Allen & Associates, Inc. on behalf of the owners of a local apartment complex whose insurance claim was wrongfully denied under the Texas Insurance Code.

December 2016 Fire

On December 10, 2016, a catastrophic fire broke out on the plaintiff’s property. As a result, the exterior, interior, roof, ceiling, and other structures of the property were damaged. Soon after the fire, the plaintiff filed a claim under its commercial insurance policy to cover the cost of repairing the property damage.

In response to the claim, the insurance company denied large portions of damages for which the coverage should have been secured. Instead of the coverage being extended as requested, the insurance carrier applied stringent limits concerning the covered damages to the property, including lost rents.

Allen & Associates was the agency that sold the policy to the plaintiff. The agency failed to secure the requested building coverage requested by the plaintiff, and failed to remove references to the per-building limits despite clear requests from the plaintiff. Because of Allen & Associates’ failures and misrepresentation, the plaintiff suffered significant financial harm and damage.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Allen & Associates violated numerous sections of the Texas Insurance Code, including misrepresentation of an insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to the policyholder and knowingly committing foregoing acts, with actual knowledge of the falsity, unfairness, or deception of the foregoing acts and practices.

In addition to violating the Texas Insurance Code, Allen & Associates violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, which provides additional protections to consumers who are victims of deceptive, improper, or illegal practices.

Apartment Insurance Claim Lawyers

Policyholders deserve to receive their rightful payments under their insurance policies. However, when one or more party misrepresents the terms of a policy, policyholders can be left high and dry. The experienced apartment insurance claims lawyers at Raizner Slania have helped property owners across Houston and throughout Texas get their rightful payments from agencies and insurance companies operating in bad faith. If your insurance company wrongfully delayed or denied your claim, contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.

smoke damage

The Dangers of Smoke Damage

People often think flames are the most damaging part of fires, but this isn’t always the case. Even small fires can cause devastating smoke damage, and most business owners are unaware of how dangerous smoke damage can be to their business.

After A Fire

Immediately after a fire is put out, a residue called soot covers all surfaces where the fire was located. For porous materials, the soot causes permanent discoloration. The atmosphere after a fire causes metal to rust, painted walls to yellow, and permanently stains any fabric. Soot can also cause a serious health threat to people. Breathing in soot can cause respiratory distress and other medical emergencies. To avoid long-lasting damage, clean up needs to begin as soon as possible.

The Hidden Dangers of Smoke Damage

Smoke damage is incredibly dangerous because the damage isn’t always obvious. Many items like furniture or fixtures may not look damaged, but contain smoke particles that can cause health problems long after the fire has been extinguished. Walls that appear to have been cleaned can have extensive damage just behind the surface.

Leave the Cleanup To The Professionals

Some business owners might think they can handle the clean up after a fire by themselves, but it takes a trained professional to properly restore the space. Cleaning smoke damage not only requires the appropriate safety measures, but also professional cleaners and equipment. Your commercial insurance policy likely covers the cost of professional clean up services, so to best protect your business from future damage, don’t clean up yourself.

Cleaning vs. Replacing

While some items damaged by smoke and soot can be cleaned, others will need to be completely replaced. Disputes can sometimes arise when insurance companies refuse to replace damaged items even though cleaning does not fully restore them to safe condition. To understand what needs to be cleaned vs. replaced, talk to an experienced professional such as an attorney or public adjuster.

Raizner Slania: Smoke Damage Claims Attorneys

The Texas smoke damage claims attorneys at Raizner Slania know the hurdles the insurance industry will put up in an attempt to mitigate their damages and costs. We will fight for the maximum amount appropriate for the situation and make the insurance company honor its obligations. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We work on all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe us anything unless we help you recover compensation.