A-courting we will go

by The SE Texas Record |
Aug. 21, 2011, 10:53am

Insurance companies like to sell policies. They don't like to pay claims. That's how they are. That's the way it is.

When insurance companies sell policies, they make money. When they pay claims, they lose money. So, it's only natural that they try to avoid paying claims. When they can't avoid them, it's only natural that they try to minimize the amount they do pay – either by challenging the extent of the damage or by challenging the extent of the coverage.

There's nothing shady in this, or even unethical. In fact, if an insurance company did not do its utmost to protect its assets, it would be derelict in its duties not only to its stockholders but to its policyholders as well, whose own future claims need to be covered by a solvent company.

Then, there's fraud. No insurance company is obliged to honor a fraudulent claim – and telling an honest one from a fraudulent one is not always easy.

We don't say this to defend insurance companies, but merely to affirm a reality that some policyholders seem not to understand.

Kevin and Chantel Newman filed a claim with Cypress Texas Lloyds after Hurricane Ike damaged their Groves home on Sept. 13, 2008. Four months later, they filed suit in Jefferson County District Court, charging that the company had unfairly denied them their just compensation.

Now Cypress is counter-suing, insisting that the Newmans did not pursue a "completion appraisal" of their "undisputed claim payment" prior to filing their suit and subsequently resisted the company's efforts to pursue appraisal.

It's up to a jury to decide who's at fault here. A jury may have to decide if the Newmans made a good faith effort to exhaust other possible remedies in the brief time that elapsed between the filing of their claim and the filing of their lawsuit. It does seem as if they wanted to go to court.

Maybe, with an attorney like Steve Mostyn, they figured it would be worth a try.

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