Property owners sue over hurricane damage denial

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 18, 2007, 5:00am

Property owners of 1075 Calder Ave. in Beaumont filed a civil suit against United Fire Lloyd's in Jefferson County District Court alleging the insurance company refuses to pay for damages caused by Hurricane Rita on Sept. 25, 2005.

Brett Harrington alleges he submitted a claim to United that asked that they cover the costs of repairs to the property pursuant to the policy, however United denied coverage.

"United continues to wrongfully deny an adequate amount to cover the cost for repairs to the property even though the policy provided coverage for the losses," the complaint states.

Harrington claims United failed to perform its contractual duty to adequately compensate him under the terms of the policy by failing and refusing to pay the full amount of the policy although demand has been made.

He also claims United violated the Texas Insurance Code Unfair Settlement Practices when they allegedly misrepresented that the damage to the property was not covered, even though the damage was covered.

Harrington further alleges United violated the insurance code by failing to explain its offer of an inadequate settlement, failing to affirm or deny the claim within a reasonable time and failed to make an attempt to settle the claim in a fair manner.

"United has refused to pay the claim in full, despite there being no basis whatsoever on which a reasonable insurance company would have relied on to deny the full payment," the complaint states.

Harrington also alleges that his experience in not an isolated case.

He alleges that United's negligence happens so often that it constitutes a general business practice on how to handle these types of claims.

"Defendant's entire process is unfairly designed to reach favorable outcomes for the company at the expense of the policyholders," the complaint states.

Represented by Ryan Scott of Brent Coon and Associates, Harrington is seeking an amount that will reasonably and justly compensate him.

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