Raizner Slania LLP has filed an insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Dallas County investment firm against Twin City Fire Insurance Company (“Twin City”) and Cody Randall Clark. The lawsuit was necessary due to the unreasonable denial of the plaintiff’s commercial property wind and hailstorm damage claim.
June 2018 Wind and Hailstorm
On June 6, 2018, a wind and hailstorm struck the plaintiff’s property, which caused significant damage to sizeable portions of the roof. As a result of the storm, there was also substantial interior damage to the buildings. Upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with the carrier alerting it to the extensive damages.
The insurance carrier, Twin City, assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file who were inadequately and improperly trained. Specifically, Twin City assigned lead adjuster Cody Clark of The Hartford Insurance to handle the claim. The defendant’s selected adjuster was unqualified, incapable of adequately assessing the damages to this type of commercial property, and was the source of many delays throughout the claim process.
The adjuster subsequently engaged EFI Global and its consultant Brian Sattler to inspect the property. Following Mr. Sattler’s report, which was pretextual and ignored clear evidence of significant damage to the property, Clark prepared a lowball estimate after subtracting the policy deductible and withholding the depreciation value. More than three months later, Clark’s report was amended to reflect a salvage credit of $50. Instead of acknowledging the first estimate was badly misjudged and mishandled, the carrier reduced plaintiff’s claim by $50, while still holding onto the remainder of rightfully owed funds for an additional three months.
Despite clear evidence of covered replacement cost and mitigation damages, the carrier failed to issue the full payment owed under the policy covering the plaintiff’s property and instead authorized continued delays and underpayments. This underpayment omitted the wealth of facts, including physical evidence, obvious hail damage, and meteorological data supporting the plaintiff’s claim.
The Carrier Acted in Bad Faith
Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including:
- Failure to attempt to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim with respect to which liability has become reasonably clear
- Failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims arising under its policies
- Failure to provide promptly a reasonable explanation, in relation to the facts or applicable law, for the denial of a claim,
- Refusal to pay the claims without conducting a reasonable investigation with respect to the claims,
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to Plaintiff, by making an untrue statement of material facts,
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to Plaintiff by failing to state a material fact that is necessary to make other statements made not misleading,
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to Plaintiff by making a statement in such manner as to mislead a reasonably prudent person to a false conclusion of material facts and failing to disclose a matter required by law to be disclosed
- Knowingly committing the foregoing acts, with actual knowledge of the falsity, unfairness, or deception of the foregoing acts and practices,
- Failure to acknowledge receipt of the claim
- Failure to timely commence investigation of the claim or to request from Plaintiff any additional items, statements or forms that the Defendants reasonably believe to be required from Plaintiff
- Failure to notify Plaintiff in writing of the acceptance or rejection of the claim not later than the 15th business day after receipt of all items, statements and forms required by the Defendants
- Delayed payment of Plaintiff’s claim
Plaintiff additionally alleged Twin City breached its contract, breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing, acted fraudulently and with malice, and violated The Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).
Texas Insurance Coverage Lawyers
If you are a commercial property owner and your insurance claim was wrongfully denied or grossly underpaid, the Texas insurance coverage lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP can help. Contact us today for a free consultation to review your case.