Policyholders dispute 2-year Hurricane Ike provision, file class action against insurer

Kelly Holleran Apr. 24, 2012, 4:37am

Two Jefferson County residents have filed a putative class action suit against their insurance company, alleging a provision in its policy that prohibits lawsuits more than two years after an occurrence should be rendered void.

Percy LeBlanc of Neches Avenue in Port Arthur and Douglas and Sandra Hill of Sunbird Lane in Beaumont claim they purchased an insurance policy through defendant GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co.

The plaintiffs made a claim on the policy after Hurricane Ike struck on Sept. 13, 2008, causing damages to their properties, according to the complaint filed April 4 in Jefferson County District Court.

Later, a dispute between the plaintiffs and GeoVera arose. The plaintiffs then filed a suit against the defendants, the suit states.

However, a provision in GeoVera's insurance policies prohibits its insureds from filing a lawsuit more than two years following a disaster, the complaint says. The plaintiffs claim the provision should be void.

"It is impossible for the cause of action to accrue on the day of the loss, as the contract also requires the insured and the insurer to perform numerous actions before the suit can be filed," the suit states. "Therefore, the Suit Against Us clause in the GeoVera policy is void because it limits the time to bring the suit to less than two years from the time the cause of action accrues."

The plaintiffs say many people across Texas are subject to the provisions in the policy. They want to file a class action on behalf of those who have a policy with the provision.

They are seeking a declaratory judgment, plus attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Gregory F. Cox, Michael R. Ramsey and Katherine D. Ramsey of The Mostyn Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing them.

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

Case No. A192-266

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