Suit over Hurricane Ike damage seeks compensation from TWIA

Kelly Holleran Feb. 18, 2009, 1:56am

A Jefferson County man has filed suit against Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, alleging he was not paid money to which he was entitled after Hurricane Ike destroyed sections of his home.

When Juan Rossett's property at 3048 Eighth St. in Beaumont sustained dwelling and contents damages on Sept. 13 during Hurricane Ike, he submitted a claim to TWIA, which had insured his property, according to the complaint filed Feb. 10 in Jefferson County District Court.

Rossett requested TWIA cover the cost of repairs, the suit states.

However, TWIA improperly paid Rossett's claim for the repairs of his property, even though the policy provided coverage for losses, he claims.

TWIA told Rossett 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.

"Defendant misrepresented to Plaintiff that the damage to the property was not in excess to the amount paid, even though the damage was caused by a covered occurrence," the suit states.

TWIA also failed to make an attempt to settle Rossett's claim in a fair manner, a violation of the Texas Insurance Code, unfair settlement practices, he claims.

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

TWIA failed to affirm or deny coverage of the claim within a reasonable time frame, the suit states.

It refused to fully compensate Rossett, even though it did not conduct a reasonable investigation, which constitutes another violation of the Texas Unfair Competition and Unfair Practices Act, he alleges.

TWIA breached its contract with Rossett by refusing to pay the policy, according to the suit.

Rossett is seeking three times his actual damages, plus 18 percent post-judgment interest per annum and exemplary damages.

Jason M. Byrd and Wyatt D. Snider of Snider and Byrd in Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th District Court.

Case No. B183-252

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