Couple sues insurer, adjuster over water line rupture at home

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Dec. 21, 2010, 10:24am

GALVESTON - A Santa Fe couple alleges that American Security Insurance Co., Assurant Inc., Claim Adjustment Specialists and adjuster Michael Bower have failed and refused to fully honor their claim over a water line rupture at their residence, recent court documents say.

In a lawsuit filed Dec. 16 in Galveston County District Court, complainants James and Karen Wingate accuse the defendants of wrongfully denying the claim for property repairs as well as withholding timely payment of the disputed damages.

A hard freeze on Jan. 6 earlier this year caused the water line running from the pump well into the rear of the house under the slab of the patio enclosure and into the house to burst.

"As a result, the Wingates' foundation was pushed up and the Wingates' home was substantially damaged," the original petition says.

"As a result, the interior, exterior, roof and other structures of the home were damaged."

The plaintiffs subsequently filed a claim with American, asking the carrier to handle the repair costs. American handed the claim to Assurant, which turned it over to CAS and Bower for further investigation.

According to the suit, the defendants underestimated the damages thus turned down the claim. Repairs were not able to be conducted to the home since the damage, the Wingates say.

They insist the continuous delays of payment have inflicted significant economic impact, worry, distress and continuing economic and physical damage.

"The significant effect of the defendants' wrongful and unjustified delays, however, is still uncompensated," the suit says.

Consequently, the Wingates seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

They are represented by Doyle Raizner LLP.

The case has been assigned to Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss.

Case No. 10-cv-4354

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