Raizner Slania LLP has filed an insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Webb County home furnishings business against Axis Surplus Insurance Company (“Axis”). The lawsuit was necessary due to the unreasonable denial of the plaintiff’s commercial property wind and hailstorm damage claim.
March 2018 Wind and Hailstorm
On March 27, 2018, a wind and hailstorm struck the plaintiff’s property, which caused significant damage to the commercial structure, including damage to sizeable portions of the property’s roofs. The roof damages caused interior damage. Upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Axis.
The insurance carrier – Axis – assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were improperly trained. Specifically, claims adjustment was delegated to Madsen, Kneppers & Associates, Inc. (MKA). MKA engaged adjuster Jay Jennings. Jennings and other adjusters assigned to the claim were unqualified, incapable of adequately assessing the damage to this type of commercial property, and were the source of many delays throughout the claims process. After cursory and substandard inspections, Axis denied the claim. Mr. Jennings’ report stated previous hail damage and wear and tear caused the damages at issue. No payments have been made to LFD Home Furnishings for the damages from the wind and hailstorm.
Axis has ignored the scores of facts, witnesses, and meteorological data supporting the covered claim. Almost one year after the wind and hailstorm severely damaged the property, based on inadequate investigation, wrongful delays, and refusals to fully pay for reasonably clear damages, Axis has not issued a payment. To this day, due to the Defendant’s outcome-oriented, inadequate, and haphazard investigation, Axis has refused to pay for covered damage under the plaintiff’s policy.
The Carriers Acted in Bad Faith
Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including:
- Failure to attempt to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim with respect to which liability has become reasonably clear
- Failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims arising under its policies
- Failure to provide promptly a reasonable explanation, in relation to the facts or applicable law, for the denial of a claim
- Refusal to pay the claims without conducting a reasonable investigation with respect to the claims
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to LFD Home Furnishings, by making an untrue statement of material facts
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to LFD Home Furnishings by failing to state a material fact that is necessary to make other statements made not misleading,
- Misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to LFD Home Furnishings by making a statement in such manner as to mislead a reasonably prudent person to a false conclusion of material facts 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
- Failure to acknowledge receipt of the claim
- Failure to timely commence investigation of the claim or to request from LFD Home Furnishings any additional items, statements or forms that the Defendants reasonably believe to be required from LFD Home Furnishings
- Failure to notify LFD Home Furnishings in writing of the acceptance or rejection of the claim not later than the 15th business day after receipt of all items, statements and forms required by the Defendant
- Delayed payment of LFD Home Furnishings’ claim
Plaintiff additionally alleged Axis breached its contract, breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing, acted fraudulently and with malice, and violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).
Texas Insurance Coverage Lawyers
If you are a commercial property owner and your insurance claim has been wrongfully denied or grossly underpaid, the Texas insurance coverage lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP can help. Contact us today for a free consultation to review your case.