TWIA, adjusters named in Hurricane Ike suit by Beaumont man

Kelly Holleran Mar. 4, 2009, 2:53am

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

When Collins Giron Jr.'s property at 5780 Springdale Lane in Beaumont sustained roof, water, wind and structural damages on Sept. 13 during Hurricane Ike, they submitted a claim to TWIA, which had insured their property, according to the complaint filed Feb. 23 in Jefferson County District Court.

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

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

It denied the repairs after assigning two adjusters -- Glen Mienhart and Reggie Warren -- to adjust the claim.

TWIA told Giron 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, US Staffing, Minehart, and Warren 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, US Staffing, Minehart and Warren also failed to make an attempt to settle the Giron's claim in a fair manner, a violation of the Texas Insurance Code, unfair settlement practices, he claims.

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

TWIA, US Staffing, Minehart and Warren failed to affirm or deny coverage of the claim within a reasonable time frame, the suit states.

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

TWIA, US Staffing, Minehart and Warren 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.

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

Giron 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.

Rene M. Stigman and J. Steve Mostyn of The Mostyn Law Firm in Houston will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Case No. A183-362

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