Homeowner files two suits against Allstate over hurricane damage

Steve Korris Apr. 26, 2007, 7:00am

Patrick Gallagher of 6325 Arrowhead in Beaumont sued insurance underwriter Allstate Texas Lloyd's twice in a day over damage from Hurricane Rita.

On April 23 he claimed Allstate Texas Lloyd's mishandled a claim at 2420 Ashley. In a separate suit he claimed Allstate Texas Lloyd's mishandled a claim at 2080 Franklin.

Both suits name underwriter Michelle Randolph as a defendant. The suit over 2420 Ashley also names Richard Calvert and Michael Patrick as defendants.In the claim over 2420 Ashley, Gallagher sued individually and as representative of the estate of Frances Grinnell. In the claim over 2080 Franklin, he sued with Jean Gallagher.

The property on Franklin is a big house of beige stone, apparently divided into apartments and the property on Ashley is a two story frame house.

Plaintiff's attorney, Hart Green of Beaumont, alleged that since at least 1992 Allstate Texas Lloyd's has undervalued and wrongfully denied claims in return for increased profit.

Green wrote, "Defendants have had in place policies, procedures, plans and a scheme to deny covered first party claims of its insureds, and forcing insureds to litigate to recover monies rightfully owed to them."

The petition states that Allstate tied employee bonuses directly to payments, regardless of how that payout related to the actual damages, which led to the gross undervaluing of plaintiff's claims.

Green wrote, "Defendants have enacted a nationwide policy, and have written and historical procedures, showing adjusters how to knowingly and intentionally undervalue, devalue or lower the value of their insureds' first party claims.This action has been committed, time and time again, in both individual claims and in major catastrophes."

Plaintiff said his policy was in place and premiums were current when Rita struck and that underwriters made representations they knew were false or made them recklessly without knowing the truth.

Gallagher seeks punitive damages, claiming Allstate Texas Lloyd's intentionally or recklessly undervalued claims "with the goal of causing severe emotional distress."

"The acts and omissions of defendant, in taking advantage of individuals who have been injured or harmed by a natural disaster is extreme and outrageous," the petition states.

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