Tag: Wind Insurance

GuideOne

Mount Pleasant Business Insurance Claim Denial Lawsuit

Our client, a Mt. Pleasant hotel owner and operator, has filed an insurance claim denial suit against GuideOne National Insurance Claims and Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, in The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Texarkana Division. The lawsuit stems from claims the local business filed against its insurance companies for damages sustained in a hail storm, which were not properly paid according to Texas law.

A March 28, 2014 hail storm caused serious damage to the commercial property, including the roof, windows, exterior, interior, ceilings, furnishings, and more. A subsequent October 12, 2014 windstorm further damaged the property. Immediately following each weather event, our client filed its claims pursuant to its GuideOne insurance policy and its Underwriters policy.

GuideOne, a foreign company, assigned James Stafford to handle its insurance adjustment. Underwriters, a foreign company, assigned Adam Brenner to handle its insurance adjustment. The insured contends that no competent consultants or adjusters were assigned to objectively evaluate the damage. The only adjusters assigned to evaluate the insurance claims prepared damages estimates and the insurers agreed to cover the losses. This assertion, however, later turned out to be a misrepresentation.

The complaint alleges that GuideOne, Underwriters, and the individual adjusters wrongfully denied and underpaid our client’s’ claims for building repairs under the policy and that the adjusters wrongly misrepresented that some damages and losses were not covered under the policies when they were. The adjusters and insurers delayed the claims process and the insurance providers refused to issue further payments under the policy, which our client claims has caused them serious financial harm.

Insurance Claim Denial Lawyers Seek Damages For Bad Faith

Our local business owner client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, mostly involving the failure to act in a timely manner to initiate an investigation and to reasonably settlement their claims. The allegations also include that the other parties acted in bad faith by misrepresenting the insurance policy and by making misleading statements about several aspects of the claim. They also allege breach of contract, breach of duty of bad faith and fair dealing, as well as the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).

London

McLennan County Hotel Damage Lawsuit

Our client, a limited partnership investment company and commercial property owner, has filed suit against Liberty Mutual, a third-party adjusting firm, Engle, Martin & Associates, Inc., and its adjuster in McLennan County District Court. Our client was forced to file this lawsuit after its insurance claims for damages to its local hotel property sustained in wind and hailstorms were wrongfully denied and underpaid.

Hotel Damage Lawsuit Facts

According to the Hotel Damage Lawsuit complaint, there were severe wind and hailstorms on October 4, 2104, which caused serious damage to the hotel, including the roofs, HVAC, exteriors, interiors, and more. Right after the storm, our client filed a claim under its policy with Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Liberty, a foreign insurer, assigned Engle, Martin & Associates, Inc., a Georgia company, to handle the insurance adjustment, and they, in turn assigned an individual adjuster. Our client alleges that the adjuster failed to perform a thorough investigation of the claim, performed substandard inspections of the property, and prepared a damage estimate that grossly undervalued the destruction of the property. The adjuster also said that the damages were not in fact caused by the hailstorm and windstorm, but instead resulted from prior conditions and wear and tear.

The complaint alleges that Liberty Mutual Insurance, Engle Martin, and the individual adjuster wrongfully denied and underpaid our client’s hotel property damage claims under the policy. Plaintiff was not fully paid under the insurance policy; therefore, it hired its own consultant to independently evaluate the property damage. Plaintiff’s consultant identified substantial damage far beyond that the adjuster estimated. Liberty Mutual still refused to pay. This has caused additional damages to the property, including but not limited to further interior problems and roof damage.

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, a failure to timely commence investigation of the claim, a claim for statutory interest and attorneys’ fees, breach of contract, breach of duty of bad faith and fair dealing, a claim for punitive damages for bad faith, violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA), and fraud. In all, our client is asking for in excess of $1 million in damages for their losses, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees.

Hotel Property Damage Claim Lawyers

The excuses insurance companies like Liberty Mutual give for refusing payment are often the same. An insurance company may try to avoid payment or try to limit its payments. Insurance policies are meant to provide property owners coverage and protection when disaster strikes, but insurance providers do not always provide this security when presented with a claim. Our experienced insurance litigation team has handled commercial property damage claims across the country. We are here to help.

Windstorm Damage

Wind Insurance Dispute Filed for Baptist Church

A storm hit Houston, Texas on August 16, 2013, which creased extensive hail and windstorms in the area. One building that suffered significant damage was a Baptist Church. After the insured filed a valid claim for windstorm damage under its property insurance, it was unable to recover what it was due. Due to this failure to timely and appropriately pay the insurance claim, the church has filed suit against Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, Gulf Coast Adjustment Service of Houston, Inc. and its adjusters in Harris County District Court.

The church was badly damaged by hail, including its roof, HVAC, windows, exterior, interior, ceilings, furnishings, and more. After the storm, the church filed a claim under its policy with Underwriters, asking the insurer to cover all damages caused by the storm.

Foreign Surplus Lines Insurance Companies Not Admitted In Texas

Underwriters assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the claim that were inadequate and improperly trained to handle this type of property damage claim. Specifically of concern, Underwriters is a foreign surplus lines insurance company that is not admitted in Texas. It assigned Gulf Coast Claims, a Houston insurance adjusting company that falsely advertises itself under the Underwriters name. Gulf Coast Claims then assigned an unqualified adjuster in Florida to assess the Texas church’s damage. The adjuster failed to perform an adequate property investigation, failed to prepare estimates of the wind damage, and ultimately represented that the church had no damage.

Given the failures by Underwriters, Gulf Coast, and their adjuster, the church’s claims were denied, and it was forced to hire its own consultants and representatives to conduct its own assessment of property damages. During this long delay, the church has suffered economically and the structure has had continued physical damage.

As a surplus lines insurer, Underwriters at Lloyds are unregulated by the Texas Department of Insurance and operates with far fewer restrictions than insurers who are compliant with the rules for admitted carriers. In fact, Lloyds writes more commercial insurance premiums than any other insurer in Texas, and alone accounts for nearly one-quarter of all surplus lines insurance premiums written in Texas through 2015.

In its petition, the church alleges various violations of the Texas Insurance Code by all three defendants. It also alleges that the defendants failed to properly explain why they had denied the claim and that they failed to conduct a reasonable investigation into the property damage.

Bad Faith Wind Insurance Denial Claims

The church also alleges breach of contract and bad faith on the parts of all defendants. They also allege significant violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA), and Texas fraud laws. The complaint seeks to recover more than $1 million in damages, as well as interest and attorneys’ fees, in addition to punitive damages for bad faith.