Hurricane Matthew killed 49 people in the U.S., hundreds more in the Caribbean, and caused billions of dollars in damage across Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and other neighboring states. As a result, homeowners, business owners, commercial property managers, Homeowners Associations and others are now dealing with complicated insurance claims related to both visible and latent damage caused by this powerful storm. If you believe you have been treated unfairly by your carrier regarding a property damage claim related to Hurricane Matthew or another storm or disaster, the attorneys at Baron & Budd and co-counsel Childress Loucks & Plunkett may be able to help. Click here or call 866-723-1890 to learn more about your potential legal options.
First Party Insurance Claims Often Lead to Confusion and Frustration
A “first party” insurance policy is designed to cover against any losses suffered by the insured person or entity. The “insured” is considered the first party, while the insurer is considered the second party.
Most policyholders who make a home or business property damage claim assume that when a storm such as Hurricane Matthew hits, their carrier will conduct a thorough and unbiased investigation of the claim. The unfortunate truth is that insurance companies are typically looking for ways to pay less than the full value of the claim or to outright deny the claim. It is in their best interests to maximize premiums and minimize claim payments.
After the devastation of a hurricane, a policyholder will be faced with the often stressful and confusing claims process required to seek compensation under their insurance policy. Most will not thoroughly understand their policy coverage, their duties under the policy, or how to navigate the claims process, and will rely heavily on their insurance agent or carrier to fairly evaluate the claim and compensate them for their losses. Instead, insurance carriers often take advantage of the policyholder’s lack of understanding of the coverage, process and extent of the damage.
Tactics that Insurance Companies Often Use
There are several common tactics that insurance companies may use in order to either underpay or deny a claim. Some strategies may include continued delays in processing the claim, or initially offering much less than the claim is worth, resulting in the policyholder accepting a smaller settlement amount than he or she should have received.
Insurance contracts also tend to be written in a way that appear to customers to cover all losses, but appear to courts to cover very limited loss categories. Additionally, insurance companies’ experts and investigators will often characterize damage as “wear and tear,” caused by failure to maintain, or caused by pre-existing construction defects. They may also downplay the extent of the damage in order to avoid payment altogether or to pay less than the full amount of the claim.
Leveling the Playing Field
So who do you turn to if you are involved in a dispute with an insurance carrier? The first person who comes to mind may be the insurance agent. Unfortunately, insurance agents do not have a duty to offer advice, counseling, or to act in the best interests of the policyholder. In fact, insurance agents typically have longstanding relationships with insurance companies, which may compel them to act in the best interests of the carrier over the policyholder.
The attorneys at Baron & Budd, along with co-counsel Childress, Loucks & Plunkett, are experienced in litigating and settling property damage claims. We can level the playing field for you against your insurance company and help you obtain the damage compensation to which you are fairly entitled.
Experience and Client Results
Baron & Budd is proud to partner with Childress, Loucks & Plunkett, a firm that has helped clients involved in first party insurance claims for more than 30 years. Childress, Loucks & Plunkett have obtained several multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for its clients affected by storms and natural disasters across the country.
Below are just a few of the successful property settlements and verdicts the firm has achieved.
- A property insurance claim settlement valued at more than $1 million on behalf of a Florida homeowner. The client had suffered property damage due to a water intrusion, and the insurance company’s initial offer was less than $40,000.
- Multiple jury verdicts ranging from $1.5 million to $4.4 million for hurricane damage to Florida condominiums.
- Several million dollar settlements for water damage to condominiums in Florida.
- Multi-million dollar settlement against a Florida homeowner’s insurance carrier and contractors related to water intrusion.
- Recovered over $1.5 million in lost business income caused by Hurricane Katrina for a Louisiana manufacturer.
- In Illinois, over $1.5 million for a medical office affected by water damage.
- In Nevada, over $1 million for a single family home affected by water damage.
If you are a commercial property owner, a property manager, or you represent a Homeowners Association or condominium association, and believe you or your business has been treated unfairly by an insurance carrier regarding a property damage claim, please click here or call 866-723-1890. The attorneys at Baron & Budd and Childress, Loucks & Plunkett may be able to help.