Raizner Slania LLP has filed an insurance lawsuit on behalf of Tarrant County, Texas commercial property owners and realtors (collectively “Plaintiffs”) against Lloyd’s Syndicates, HDI Global Specialty SE fka International Insurance Company of Hannover SE, and Global Excess Partners, Inc. (collectively “Carriers” or “Defendants”). The lawsuit was necessary due to the unreasonable denial of the Plaintiffs’ wind and hailstorm damage claims.
Wind and Hailstorm Damages the Property
The allegations in the petition are as follows:
On or about May 7, 2020, a wind and hailstorm struck the Plaintiffs’ property, causing substantial damage to the roof systems, HVACs, interiors, exteriors, and more. Despite how devastating the physical damage was, Plaintiffs felt protected by the several million dollars in insurance coverage they had for their property. Immediately following the storm, the Plaintiffs promptly filed claims with the Carriers, alerting them to the extensive damages.
The claims-handling process conducted by the Carriers resulted in a wrongful claim rejection, which omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious wind and hail damage, as well as meteorological data from the storm. The Carriers unreasonably pinned the losses on anything but the hail and wind, an action designed to save them money. To this day, due to the Carriers’ outcome-oriented, inadequate, and haphazard investigation, none of the Plaintiffs’ have been fully paid for the damages under their policy.
Plaintiffs Meet Requirements
On June 1, 2017, Governor Abbott signed House Bill 1774 into law as Section 542A of the Texas Insurance Code. This law contains important consumer protections against a variety of unscrupulous practices. Particularly, Section 542A.003 requires a detailed, comprehensive pre-suit notice that is intended to make the claims and litigation processes more transparent and to potentially prevent unnecessary lawsuits. Upon receiving notice, an insurer has the right to conduct an inspection and even make an offer to avoid litigation. When utilized properly, Section 542A should assist business consumers like the Plaintiffs in avoiding protracted litigation over a clear claim.
In compliance with Section 542A.003, the Plaintiffs gave the required pre-suit notice to the Carriers on November 20, 2020. This notice provided a comprehensive outline of Plaintiffs’ claims and damages, quantified losses, and even offered to waive a formal claim for attorneys’ fees if the contractual amounts were paid promptly. The Carriers responded to the demand on January 18, 2021, but refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing.
The Carriers Violated The Texas Insurance Code
In addition to the actions mentioned herein, Plaintiffs specifically allege Defendants violated the Texas Insurance Code by:
Failing to attempt to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim with respect to which liability has become reasonably clear
Failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims arising under its policies
Failing to provide promptly a reasonable explanation, in relation to the facts or applicable law, for the partial denial of a claim
Refusing to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation with respect to the claim
Misrepresenting the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to Plaintiffs by making an untrue statement of material fact
Misrepresenting the insurance policy to Plaintiffs by making an untrue statement of material fact
Misrepresenting the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to Plaintiffs by failing to state a material fact that is necessary to make other statements made not misleading
Misrepresenting the insurance policy to Plaintiffs by failing to state a material fact that is necessary to make other statements made not misleading
Misrepresenting the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to Plaintiffs by making a statement in such manner that they would mislead a reasonably prudent person to make a false conclusion of material fact and failing to disclose a matter required by law to be disclosed
Misrepresenting the insurance policy to Plaintiffs by making a statement in such manner as to mislead a reasonably prudent person to a false conclusion of material fact 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
Failing to acknowledge receipt of the claim
Failing to timely commence investigation of the claim or to request from Plaintiffs any additional items, statements or forms the carriers believed to be required from plaintiffs
Failing to notify Plaintiffs in writing of the acceptance or rejection of the claim no later than the 15th business day after receipt of all items, statements, and forms required by the Carriers
Delaying of payment of Plaintiffs’ claim
The Plaintiffs additionally allege the carriers breached their contract, breached their duty of good faith and fair dealing, acted fraudulently and with malice, and violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).
Texas Insurance Coverage Attorneys
If you are a commercial property owner and your insurance claim has been wrongfully denied or grossly underpaid, the Texas insurance coverage attorneys at Raizner Law can help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.