Port Arthur man sues TWIA over Hurricane Ike claim

Kelly Holleran Feb. 25, 2009, 12:50pm

A Jefferson County man has filed suit against Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, All-Tech Claims Management and an adjuster, alleging he was not paid money to which he was entitled after Hurricane Ike destroyed sections of his home.

When Norman Bowen's property at 1620 E. 10th St. in Port Arthur sustained roof, water, wind and structural damages on Sept. 13 during Hurricane Ike, he submitted a claim to TWIA, which had insured his property, according to the complaint filed Feb. 19 in Jefferson County District Court.

Bowen requested TWIA cover the cost of repairs, plus additional living expenses, the suit states.

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

It denied the repairs after assigning All-Tech and Brandon Beavers to adjust the claim.

TWIA told Bowen 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 TWIA, All-Tech and Beavers 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.

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

The companies 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.

TWIA, All-Tech and Beavers failed to affirm or deny coverage of the claim within a reasonable time frame, the suit states.

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

TWIA, All-Tech and Beavers are liable for common law fraud because each of its representations contained facts it knew were false, according to the complaint.

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

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

Bowen 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 her.

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

Case No. B183-340

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