Unpaid hurricane claim leads to suit against Allstate

David Yates Jul. 19, 2007, 11:31am

After Hurricane Rita ripped the siding of Russell and Amy Gils' home, Allstate compromised with the couple and agreed to replace a portion of the house's siding. However, when the couple submitted their $16,500 policy claim, Allstate, through one of its adjusters, denied the claim.

Joining a list of growing plaintiffs, the couple filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the Allstate Texas Lloyds Co. on July 18 in the Jefferson County District Court.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, back in October of 2005, an Allstate adjuster inspected the damage to the Gil home. The couple claims the adjuster "failed to conduct a proper investigation and inspection and prepared an inadequate estimate for the cost to repair the dwelling and roof of the home.

"This process is frequently referred to in the insurance industry as 'low-balling,'" the suit said. In January of 2006, Allstate sent two more adjusters to investigate the damage to the Gils' home.

"(The adjuster) proposed to the Gils that Allstate would be willing to pay for the damage to the home's unique siding on all four sides of the chimney, but would not pay for all four sides of siding to the garage and house, the suit said. "On Feb. 16, 2006, plaintiffs received a proposal from Weston Construction to remove arid replace the siding with new siding in the amount of $16,500 since the old siding could not be matched."

The Gils provided this information to Allstate, and on Feb. 20, 2006, four days later, they received a letter from an Allstate adjuster denying their claim to replace all the siding to their home and garage, "even though the unique siding was no longer being manufactured and matching repair pieces could not be obtained."

"In denying this part of the Gils' claim, Allstate erroneously stated that the policy does not provide coverage for style and color matching," the suit said. "In doing so, Allstate in bad faith misrepresented the replacement cost coverage that plaintiffs had purchased. To date, Allstate has failed and refused to pay the Gils for the proper repair and replacement of the siding to their garage and home."

The couple alleges Allstate is guilty of breach of contract, violating sections of the Texas Insurance Code, violating the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and breach of good faith and fair dealing.

They are suing for the amount of the unpaid claim, plus interest and attorney fees.

The Gills are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by attorney Robert Loree of the Loree, Hernandez & Lipscomb law firm.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. B179-680

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