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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Property owners allege State Auto refused to pay out for Hurricane Harvey damage


By Daniel Beauregard | Aug 13, 2018


HOUSTON – Insurance provider State Auto is being sued for allegedly neglecting to recoup on a more than $22 million dollar insurance plan held by a commercial property firm that incurred damage during Hurricane Harvey.

Plaintiffs Rothchild Family Partnership, et al. filed the suit July 26 in Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, alleging State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co. reneged on policies they held.

“State Auto, its adjusters and consultants ignored obvious catastrophic wind damage to the properties, and refused to consider that Harvey’s considerable winds were actually the source of damages,” the suit states.

According to the complaint, Rothchild took out comprehensive commercial insurance coverage for 10 properties it owned in the area. Combined, the limit of coverage for all of them totaled more than $22 million.

Each policy it took out also contained a deductible provision that confirmed coverage for damages to the interior of the property that result from windstorm and hail, the suit states.

Several days after Hurricane Harvey struck, Rothchild made claims for damages related to the storm on several of its properties, documenting interior and severe roof damage to several of its insured properties.

However, according to the complaint, even after making significant effort to thoroughly document the damage mentioned, its claims were denied one after the other.

According to the complaint, State Auto did its best to pin the cause of damage on “anything but the wind,” and even went as far as assigning Jennifer Stivers, a claims adjuster to their case, who was situated in Ohio.

“Stivers was unqualified and incapable of adequately assessing the damages to the properties and was the source of many delays throughout the claims process,” the complaint says.

Ultimately, the insurance company denied nine out of 10 of the plaintiffs’ claims, stating that they could find “no wind/storm related damages to the building.” In addition to ignoring what it states as catastrophic wind damage to the properties, the complaint accuses State Auto of conducting the claims process behind closed doors.

The plaintiffs are requesting damages in the amount of the claims that were denied, as well as well as attorney’s fees and other costs. They are represented by law firm Raizner Slania in Houston.

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston DivisionU.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

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