Industrial Building Owner Files Lawsuit After Insurance Denial

Commercial Fire Damage Lawyers

Our client, an industrial building owner, has filed a lawsuit against Rockhill Insurance Company, International Insurance Company Hannover SE, Antares AUL 1274, Liberty Syndicated LIB 4472, and Vericlaim Inc.

January 2017 Fire

On January 1, 2017, the plaintiff’s property suffered severe damage from a fire that broke out on the property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

On February 14, 2017, authorized adjusting representatives from Vericlaim confirmed that the damages were covered under the policy and approved payment for the damage in an official insurance company estimate of damages. On the same day, plaintiffs accepted the estimate of damages creating a binding and enforceable agreement. This should have led to the conclusion of the claim.

Rockhill, Hannorver, Antares, and Liberty are the insurers on the property. In response to the fire claim, the carriers assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequately and improperly trained. In addition, these representatives violated standard insurance practices when directed by the carriers.

Specifically, the claim was assigned to an adjuster who originally prepared the accepted estimate of damages. The carriers refused to honor their coverage representation, and the adjuster failed to stand by the commitment he had made on behalf of the carriers.

Adjusters on the claim failed to perform a thorough investigation of the claim and instead delayed the claim payment and pointed to an approved vendor report in order to reach the non-payment outcome that they desired.

After the February 14 estimate of damages, the carriers and their administrators engaged in deceptive and unfair claim practices by attempting to leverage the claim amount that they knew they owed. The carriers and the adjusters on the claim ignored the promises they made on the claim payment and attempted to invoke appraisal as part of an unlawful negotiating process.

Because the carriers and adjusters confirmed coverage and the undisputed amount owed on the claim to plaintiff on February 14, 2017, they waived any right to later disclaim coverage and put the entire claim in an expensive and wasteful appraisal process.

As a result, the carriers crossly underpaid the claim and the plaintiff has still not been fully paid under the policy. The plaintiff was forced to hire a consultant to properly evaluate the property damage because the carriers refused to do so.

On June 14, 2017, the carriers attempted to place this matter into appraisal, which is in direct violation of the Texas Insurance Code, the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing, and is in breach of their contractual commitments. To put it simply, the carriers chose to act unreasonably in refusing to issue the claim payment their authorized representative confirmed and the plaintiff accepted.

Because of the carriers’ wrongful denials, the plaintiff has been unable to make necessary repairs to the property, which has caused additional damage.

The Carriers Acted In Bad Faith

Our client alleges numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including the failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim and misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff. The plaintiff also states the carriers are in breach of the insurance contract and have violated the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

Commercial Fire Damage Lawyers

Insurance companies will often do anything to avoid paying out on claims. When an insurance company operates in bad faith, you will need experienced commercial fire damage lawyers to help you get what you are rightfully owed under your policy. If your insurance company is denying, delaying, or under-paying your fire damage claim, contact Raizner Slania immediately.

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