Homeowner alleges insurance company misrepresented coverage for wind, storm surge

Kelly Holleran Dec. 16, 2008, 5:43am

A Jefferson County woman has filed suit against Texas Farm Bureau Underwriters and one of its agents, alleging she was not aware the her policy would not cover wind or storm surge claims until after Hurricane Ike damaged her homes.

After seeing the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Donna Parker claims she consistently told Farm Bureau through its agent, Cody D. Woodul, that she wanted all coverage necessary to fully protect both her principal and beach residences against anticipated risks associated with hurricanes, according to the complaint filed Dec. 12 in Jefferson County District Court.

During Hurricane Ike on Sept. 13, both of Parker's properties suffered extensive damage, according to the complaint.

However, Farm Bureau and Woodul failed to inform Parker that the insurance covering her principal residence in Jefferson County did not include coverage for wind damage, the suit states.

"In fact, prior to Hurricane Ike, plaintiff received assurances from persons acting under the direction and control of Cody D. Woodul that her home was covered against damage caused by wind," the suit states.

Until she suffered losses, Parker was also not informed that the insurance covering her beach residence in Galveston County did not include coverage for storm surge damage associated with hurricanes, she claims.

Parker claims Farm Bureau and Woodul violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Texas Insurance Code by misrepresenting and failing to disclose that the policies sold to Parker excluded available coverage against known risks associated with hurricanes.

The plaintiff is seeking unspecified actual, economic and consequential damages, damages under the DTPA and Insurance Code, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Tom N. Kiehnhoff of Reaud, Morgan and Quinn in Beaumont will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th District Court.

Case No. D182-856

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