Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Company; and
International Insurance Company of Hannover.
January 2017 Windstorm in Harris County
On January 20, 2017, a windstorm ripped through Harris County. The windstorm caused significant damage to our client’s apartment complex, including damage to building components like light fixtures, windows, drywall, flooring, and the roofing system.
Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.
The insurance carriers, through AmRisc, assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, the claim was delegated to AmRisc to assign the claims to Vericlaim as the third party adjusting firm to handle the claims.
Vericlaim, in turn, assigned the claim to an internal adjuster. The internal adjuster was assigned as the adjuster with decision-making authority over the plaintiff’s claim under the policy.
Vericlaim and the internal adjuster conducted an unreasonable and inadequate investigation of the property and wrongfully denied any windstorm damage.
Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Vericlaim and its internal adjuster claimed the damages were not storm-related, and instead were a result of normal wear and tear, deferred maintenance, construction deficiencies, and other excuses.
Additionally, they confirmed damages to thousands of shingles and other areas of the property, but instead of providing full indemnity, they understated the damages and admitted only spotty repairs.
The carriers engaged in and ratified this improper claims conduct and ultimately approved a gross underpayment of the contractual damages. This underpayment omitted important facts, physical evidence, and meteorological data supporting the plaintiff’s claim.
The Carriers instead unreasonably blamed the loss on causes other than wind to avoid contractual responsibilities and to save themselves in excess of $1,000,000.
The Carriers Acted In Bad Faith
Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including:
failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims;
refusal to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation; and
misrepresentation of the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff.
Harris County Commercial Property Insurance Lawyers