Hurricane Ike trial: Jurors hit National Lloyds with $915K verdict

By David Yates | May 23, 2013

A Jefferson County jury recently found National Lloyds Insurance committed deceptive trade practices in the handling of a policy claim following Hurricane Ike, awarding the plaintiff nearly a million dollars in damages.

For almost a month, a dozen area residents heard testimony as to whether National Lloyds Insurance and Compass Adjusting Services failed to fully compensate Latosha Lewis following Hurricane Ike.

Lewis filed suit against the two companies on Sept. 9, 2010, in Jefferson County District Court.

The case went to trial on April 29 and ended May 20.

According to the charge of the court filed May 22, jurors found National Lloyds failed to honor its policy with Lewis, engaged in deceptive trade practices when handling her claim, and is guilty of breach of good faith dealing.

Jurors awarded Lewis $265,757 in actual and additional damages, $300,000 in exemplary damages and $350,000 in fees to her attorney Clint Brasher.

According to testimony during the trial, Lewis’ roof was damaged during Hurricane Rita. Her insurer compensated her and recommended she replace the roof. However, she used the money to repair the roof instead.

On May 8 jurors heard testimony from one of the defendants’ adjusters, who testified Lewis would have had to replace her roof after Hurricane Rita to compensate for roof damages following Hurricane Ike, since the insurer does not pay for damages twice.

According to the lawsuit, on Sept. 13, 2008, Ike struck, causing serious damage to Lewis’ property. Following the hurricane, she filed a claim with Lloyds, needing compensation to repair her Beaumont home.

“The claim was not properly investigated or paid,” the suit states. “Lloyds hired Compass to adjust the claim. The adjuster assigned to the claim failed to conduct a thorough and complete inspection of the property.”

The suit accuses Lloyds of breaching its contract by failing to perform its contractual obligations, deceptive trade practices and insurance code violations.

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, is presiding over the litigation.

Case No. B188-072

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