Large wind and hail storms are just part of the experience of living in Harris County, Texas. They don’t happen often, but when they do happen and our property suffers damage as a result, we expect that the insurance company we’ve been paying premiums to over the years will come out and help us repair the damage and get things back to where they should be.
One such storm occurred on October 27, 2013. There was lots of wind and hail and damage was widespread all over Harris County, and one company that was especially hard-hit was an apartment complex owned by our client. However, our client did not receive the money they felt they deserved from their insurance, so they have filed suit in Harris County District Court against several carriers, including Lloyd’s of London, Indian Harbour Insurance Company, Princeton Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Company, QBE Specialty Insurance Company and Steadfast Insurance Company, as well as their insurance adjusters, Vericlaim.
According to the complaint, the October 27, 2013 wind and hail storm caused a significant amount of damage to their apartment complex, including significant roof and exterior damage, as well as damage to the HVAC and some of the interior portions of the property. When they discovered the damage, our client filed a claim against their insurance for the damage they noticed. In response to the claims, the insurance companies assigned the claim to third-party adjusting firm Vericlaim, which immediately assigned the claim to one of its internal adjusters, who was given decision-making authority over the claim. Vericlaim, it is alleged, assigned unqualified consultants to the claim and in the end conducted what Our client characterizes as an “unreasonable and inadequate investigation.”
Vericlaim and the other consultants denied that there was any wind and hail damage to the roofs, windows, HVAC and other parts of the building, and what little damage they did accept was significantly undervalued. Our client had no choice but to hire its own representative to re-inspect and reevaluate the property and make note of the obvious damage that the adjuster ignored. In addition, Vericlaim and the other consultants misrepresented that some of the damages that they did accept were not covered under the policy, when in fact they were.
To date, nearly two years later, no payments have been issued under the policy because, our client alleges, the claims were wrongfully denied. Thus, the delay has impacted our client’s ability to make repairs to their apartment complex property. Due to all the delays and denials, our client has made numerous allegations of violations of the Texas Insurance Code having to do with the insurance companies’ inability or unwillingness to conduct a timely and thorough inspection and investigation of the claims, as well as their failure to provide a reasonable explanation for denying such claims. They claim that all of the defendants misrepresented what was in the insurance policy, as well as the extent of the damages, and that they breached the contract and acted in bad faith. In addition to actual damages, our client is also seeking punitive damages for bad faith and fraud, as well as statutory interest and attorneys’ fees.