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.