Business owners say insurance rep failed to purchase windstorm policy, file deceptive trade suit

David Yates Apr. 14, 2008, 10:46am

The owners of Small World have filed suit against their insurance salesman, claiming he failed to obtain windstorm coverage before Hurricane Humberto struck the area.

Rogers and Shantell Broussard allege Carlton R. Hatch misrepresented to them that they had windstorm coverage. When the Category 1 storm hit, the couple submitted a policy claim for their business. When the claim was denied, the couple proceeded to file suit against Hatch on April 11 in the Jefferson County District Court.

"Plaintiffs purchased a commercial insurance policy from Defendant to cover the Property. Plaintiffs were informed that the Property was adequately covered by insurance policies," the suit said.

"On Sept. 13, 2007, Hurricane Humberto struck Jefferson County, Texas, causing severe damage to homes and businesses throughout the area, including Plaintiffs' business. Plaintiffs submitted a claim to Texas Windstorm Insurance Association for roof damage, water damage and wind damage to the Property sustained as a result of Hurricane Humberto.

"Plaintiffs asked that Texas Windstorm cover the cost of repairs to the Property pursuant to the Policy. When Texas Windstorm denied their claim on the Property, Plaintiffs discovered that Defendant had failed to obtain insurance coverage for the Property, despite statements and representations contrary thereto."

The couple is alleging Hatch's conduct constitutes violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Unfair Settlement Practices. "Hatch misrepresented to Plaintiffs the Property was covered by an insurance policy and that said policy would provide coverage for losses to the Property, including losses caused by windstorm, hurricane and hail," the suit says.

"However, Defendant had failed to obtain such a policy for Plaintiffs. Defendant's conduct constitutes a violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act-Consumer Protection Act."

The plaintiffs are suing for exemplary and economic damages, plus attorney's fees.

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

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D181-585

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