Church sues insurer over Rita claim

David Yates Jun. 28, 2007, 5:56am

Apostolic Church of Beaumont

When consoling a grieving member of his congregation, a reverend might say, "The Lord gives and takes away." However, at least one pastor of the Apostolic Church in Beaumont seems to believe in a different proverb, "When the Lord takes, sue your insurance provider for denying a portion of your Hurricane Rita claim."

Apostolic Church Inc. filed suit against Guideone Mutual Insurance Co. and one of its agents, Paul Odom, on June 27 in the Jefferson County District Court. Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

According to the plaintiff's petition, on Sept. 24, 2005, Rita struck, causing severe damage to homes and businesses throughout the area, including the Apostolic Church.

"Plaintiff submitted a claim to Guideone against the policy for roof, water and wind damage to the property," the suit said. (The defendant) failed to perform its contractual duty to adequately compensate plaintiff under the terms of the Policy. Specifically, Guideone failed and refused to pay proper proceeds of the policy, although due demand was made for proceeds to be paid in an amount sufficient to cover the damaged property."

The suit goes on to allege that Guideone misrepresented to the church "that the damage to the property was not covered under the policy, even though the damage was caused by a covered occurrence."
"Defendants conduct constitutes a violation of the Texas Insurance Code, Unfair Settlement Practices," the suit said. "Defendant failed to offer plaintiff adequate compensation, without any explanation why full adequate compensation 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 policy, nor did it provide any explanation for the failure to adequately settle plaintiff's claim."

The suit goes on to allege that Guideone failed to perform a "reasonable investigation. Specifically, defendant performed an outcome-oriented investigation."

The suit also faults Guideone with breaching its contract and breaching the common law duty of good faith and fair dealing.
The church is suing the insurance company for the unpaid balance of the claim, economic hardship, mental anguish and all court costs.

Apostolic Church is demanding a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Brandon Monk of the McPherson, Monk, Hughes, Bradley, Wimberley & Steele law firm.

Case No. A179-574

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