Jefferson County woman sues windstorm association over Hurricane Humberto claim

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 30, 2008, 12:29pm

GALVESTON � A Jefferson County woman alleges the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association wrongfully denied a claim she submitted to the company after Hurricane Humberto reportedly inflicted damage to her home on the Bolivar Peninsula in September 2007.

Lydia Jane Robertson is suing the TWIA in Galveston County District Court for breach of contract, unfair settlement practices and failure to promptly pay claims.

She asserts the Category 1 Hurricane counts as an event which her policy can cover.

The case was filed by Houston attorney Steve Mostyn on Dec. 23. It has been assigned to Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor.

Robertson says her residence along State Highway 87 sustained roof, water, wind and structural damage during Humberto, which came ashore between Galveston and Chambers Counties on Sept. 13, 2007.

She consequently requested the TWIA to cover the cost of repairs to the property in addition to loss of rental income, however, the agency turned down her claim, the suit states.

"(The) defendant misrepresented to (the) plaintiff that the damage to the property was not covered under the policy, even though the damage was caused by a covered occurrence," it says.

Robertson claims she fulfilled all necessary conditions precedent to recovery upon the policy, but was inadequately compensated by the TWIA.

"(The) defendant failed to explain to (the) plaintiff the reasons for their offer of an inadequate settlement," the complaint states. "Specifically, (the) defendant failed to offer (the) plaintiff adequate compensation, without any explanation why full payment was not being made."

Furthermore, the TWIA failed to affirm or deny coverage of plaintiff's claim within a reasonable time as well as neglected to conduct a reasonable investigation, according to the original petition.

The suit also accuses the TWIA of implementing a process that benefits the company and deprives the policyholders.

"(The) plaintiff's experience is not an isolated case," it says. "The acts and omissions the TWIA committed in this case, or similar acts and omissions, occur with such frequency that they constitute a general business practice of the TWIA with regard to handling these types of claims.

"Its entire process is unfairly designed to reach favorable outcomes for the company at the expense of the policyholders."

Robertson claims the situation caused her mental anguish and emotion distress therefore seeks damages for such as well as economic hardship.

She also requests a jury trial.

Case No. 08CV1274

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