Couple sues for denying a "portion" of hurricane claim

David Yates May 31, 2007, 7:00am

Freddie and Zohreh Shahrodi are the latest Jefferson County residents to sue their insurance provider for not paying their full claim following Hurricane Rita.

The insurer, Fire Insurance Exchange,paid the some of the couples' claim for property damages, but "summarily denied at least a portion of the claim without an adequate investigation," the plaintiffs' lawsuit said, which was filed with the Jefferson County District Court on May 30.

"Defendant wrongfully denied Plaintiffs' claims for repairs of the property, even though the policy provided coverage for losses such as those suffered by plaintiffs," the suit said.

"Defendant failed to explain to Plaintiffs the reason for their offer of an inadequate settlement. Specifically, Defendant failed to offer Plaintiffs adequate compensation, without any explanation why full payment was not being made. Furthermore, Defendant did not communicate that any future settlements or payments would be forthcoming to pay for the entire losses covered under the policies, nor did they provide any explanation for the failure," the suit added.

The five-count suit faults the defendant with breaching its contract, violating the Texas Insurance Code on two counts, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, knowledge and intent, and deceptive trade practices.

"Plaintiffs experience is not an isolated case," the suit said.

"The acts and omissions of defendant committed in this case, or similar acts and omissions, occur with such frequency that they constitute a general business practice of defendant with regard to handling 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 suit added.

The plaintiffs are suing for the amount of the unpaid claim plus attorney fees.

The couple is represented by Wyatt Snider of the Snider & Byrd law firm, and is demanding a trial by jury.

Snider & Byrd concentrates in areas of general litigation, real estate and business. The practice areas include commercial litigation, insurance litigation, consumer litigation, labor and employment, personal injury, real estate, probate, estate planning and banking, the law firm's Web site said.

Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial Distrcit, will preside over the case.

Case No. A179-399

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