Port Arthur couple sues Lloyd's over Ike claim

Kelly Holleran Feb. 12, 2009, 5:10am

A Jefferson County couple has filed suit against Certain Underwriters at Lloyds and an adjuster, alleging they were not paid money to which they were entitled after Hurricane Ike destroyed sections of their home.

When Alvin and Anita Tyler's property at 409 19th Street in Port Arthur sustained roof and structural damages on Sept. 13 during Hurricane Ike, they submitted a claim to Certain Underwriters, which had insured their property, according to the complaint filed Feb. 2 in Jefferson County District Court.

"Plaintiffs' property and home sustained massive damages from the high winds which caused significant damage to the roof, siding and trimming," the suit states. "Also, the high winds damaged the garage door and garage roof."

The Tylers requested Certain Underwriters cover the cost of repairs, the suit states.

However, Certain Underwriters denied the Tylers' claim for the repairs of their property, even though the policy provided coverage for losses, they claim.

It denied the claim after assigning adjuster Ronald Junior Forsgren to adjust the claim, according to the complaint.

Certain Underwriters told the Tylers it would not pay the full proceeds of the policy, although demand was made for it, which constitutes a breach of the insurance contract, the suit states.

"Defendants Certain Underwriters and Forsgren misrepresented to 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 states.

Certain Underwriters and Forsgren also failed to make an attempt to settle the Tylers' claim in a fair manner, a violation of the Texas Insurance Code, unfair settlement practices, they claim.

The companies failed to explain the reason for their offer of an inadequate settlement, another violation of the Texas Insurance Code, according to the complaint.

Certain Underwriters and Forsgren failed to affirm or deny coverage of the claim within a reasonable time frame, the suit states.

They refused to fully compensate the Tylers, even though they did not conduct a reasonable investigation, which constitutes another violation of the Texas Unfair Competition and Unfair Practices Act, the Tylers allege.

Certain Underwriters breached its contract with the Tylers by refusing to pay the policy, according to the complaint.

Forsgren misrepresented to the Tylers material facts relating to their coverage, which constitutes an unfair method of competition, the suit states.

The adjuster also acted in an unfair method of competition by failing to attempt in good faith to effectuate a prompt, fair and equitable settlement, according to the complaint.

Certain Underwriters and Forsgren are liable to the Tylers for common law fraud, the suit states.

The Tylers are seeking unspecified actual, consequential, treble, punitive and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief to which they may be entitled.

Philip M. Kanayan, J. Steve Mostyn and Michael R. Ramsey of The Mostyn Law Firm in Houston will be representing them.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Case No. E183-168

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