Couple claims Allstate never informed them of flood insurance upgrade

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Jun. 28, 2010, 6:24am

Larry and Patricia Gunter have filed a lawsuit against Allstate, accusing the insurance company of deceptively charging years of higher premiums for lower coverage amounts.

The Gunters filed suit against Jay Ayers, Allstate Texas Lloyds on May 21 in Orange County District Court. Allstate removed the case to the Eastern District of Texas, Beaumont Division on June 18.

The couple alleges that in 1978, they sought to obtain maximum flood coverage under a Standard Flood Insurance Policy in the amount of $77,600 in coverage for the building and $12,500 in coverage for the contents.

The petitioners state in 1989 a Preferred Risk Policy became available that would have increased their coverage at a lower premium cost.

Plaintiffs allege that defendants failed to advise them of the available PRP and continued to charge them "higher premiums for less coverage," the suit states.

The plaintiffs argue that Hurricane Ike damaged their property in excess of the standard policy limits in 2008.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of "...falsity, deception, or unfairness of the alleged misleading and deceptive acts, practices and/or admissions."

The Gunters allege that they sustained economic losses due including loss of use, cost of replacement, loss of the benefit of the bargain, diminished or reduced market value, cost of repairs and lost earnings.

They are also seeking damages for interest, statutory damages, common law fraud damages, interest, attorney's fees and mental anguish.

Beaumont attorney E. Hart Green of Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell is representing the plaintiffs.

Jeffrey L. Hoffman of Henslee Schwartz LLP in Houston is representing the defendants.

U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield is assigned to the case.

Case No. 1:10cv00354

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