It’s ‘all you can eat’ at TWIA

By David Yates | Jun 12, 2018

It’s hard to resist an all-you-can-eat buffet. The idea of being able to devour as much as you want for a flat fee – going back for seconds, thirds, etc. – is very appealing, especially if you have a big appetite. But it’s best to resist the temptation to really get your money’s worth by overeating.

Of course, if too many ravenous customers come in too frequently and make the all-you-can-eat policy a losing proposition, the owner of the buffet may have to discontinue it or apply restrictions.

Some people seem to think that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Ten years after Hurricane Ike struck, they’re still trying to go back for more helpings of alleged damages.

Three days after the storm made landfall on Sept. 13, 2008, the Dickinson Independent School District (DISD) notified TWIA of windstorm damage to several of the district’s buildings. A little over a year later, the Association paid DISD $220,000 for damages.

Two years after that, DISD sought reimbursement for a replaced roof on one of its buildings and TWIA forked over nearly $1 million for the supplemental claim.

The following year, four years after the storm and without having notified TWIA of any additional losses allegedly covered under the policy, DISD filed suit against TWIA, claiming breach of contract.

With Houston attorney Tony Buzbee serving as counsel, DISD filed motions for partial summary judgment. TWIA opposed the motions, arguing that DISD had not proven that the alleged damages were caused by covered perils.

Nevertheless, the trial court ruled in DISD’s favor and subsequently awarded a judgment against TWIA of $9.6 million, including $1.25 million in fees for Buzbee.

But, just last month, the 14th Court of Appeals ruled that DISD had not proven its alleged loss was caused by covered perils and that the trial court had erred in granting the motions for partial summary judgment. It reversed the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Until those proceedings resume, the buffet is closed.

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