Beaumont couple sues Farmers for denying hurricane claim

David Yates Aug. 2, 2007, 6:15am

Beaumont couple Gary and Karen Kiefer maintain that their insurance policy covered windstorm damage. However, after Hurricane Rita hit, the couple says Farmers Insurance Exchange denied their policy claim.

The couple filed their breach of contract lawsuit against Farmers with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 1.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, the Kiefers sought and received an insurance policy through Farmers. When Rita subsided, they filed a claim for roof, water, foundation and wind damage.

"The Kiefers asked that Farmers cover the cost of repairs to the property�and requested additional living expenses," the suit said. "Farmers misrepresented to the plaintiffs that the damage to the property was not covered under the policy, even though the damage was caused by a covered occurrence."

The suit alleges that by denying a portion of the Kiefers' claim, Farmers "failed to perform its contractual duty."

"Defendant failed to explain to plaintiffs the reasons for their offer of an inadequate settlement," the suit said, adding that Farmers refused to conduct a "reasonable investigation."

The suit faults Farmers for breeching its contract and duty of good faith and fair dealing, and also alleges the insurance company committed several violations of the Texas Insurance Code.

The couple is suing for the unpaid claim, actual and compensatory damages, economic hardship, plus exemplary damages and damages for emotional distress.

The Kiefers are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by attorney Michael Ramsey of the Mostyn Law Firm.

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

Case No. B179-740

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