Beaumont man sues Voyager Indemnity over Hurricane Ike claim

Kelly Holleran Feb. 25, 2009, 12:41pm

A Jefferson County man has filed suit against Voyager Indemnity Insurance Company and an adjuster, alleging he was not paid money to which he was entitled after Hurricane Ike destroyed sections of his home.

When Cleal Derry Jr.'s property at 2605 10th St. in Beaumont sustained roof, water, wind and structural damages on Sept. 13 during Hurricane Ike, he submitted a claim to Voyager, which had insured his property, according to the complaint filed Feb. 19 in Jefferson County District Court.

Derry requested Voyager cover the cost of repairs, plus additional living expenses, the suit states.

However, Voyager denied Derry's claim for the repairs of his property, even though the policy provided coverage for losses, he claims.

It denied the repairs after assigning an adjuster – Barbara Rose -- to adjust the claim.

Voyager told Derry 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 Voyager and Rose misrepresented to Plaintiff 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.

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

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

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

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

Voyager and Rose are liable for common law fraud because each of their representations contained facts they knew were false, according to the complaint.

They also committed numerous violations of the Texas Unfair Settlement Practices.

Voyager breached its contract with Derry by refusing to pay the policy, according to the suit.

Derry is seeking unspecified actual, treble, punitive and exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Michael R. Ramsey and Gregory F. Cox of The Mostyn Law Firm in Beaumont and J. Steve Mostyn of The Mostyn Law Firm in Houston will be representing him.

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

Case No. D183-341

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