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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

After String of Heists, Truckline Sues ACE Unit over “Delay Tactics”

September 29th, 2014 - A California trucking firm has sued Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Co. over its alleged failure to properly investigate and then pay it for two claims related to thefts from a truck and a warehouse.

Amerifreight Inc. accused the ACE Group unit in a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California of employing what it called delay tactics in paying the claims. It said Westchester Surplus had breached its duty to bargain in good faith.

Amerifreight, based in City of Industry, Calif., said that it bought a comprehensive portfolio of insurance from Westchester Surplus that included coverage for both cargo claims and warehouse claims. Policy limits were $200,000 for any one unit and $400,000 per occurrence for warehouse theft.

Amerifreight paid the insurer $37,359 for the coverage, which it said was in effect on September 26th, 2011, when a truckload of electronics was stolen from one of its freight yards. Amerifreight called police and notified the insurer of the $272,728 loss.

On November 3rd, 2011, Amerifreight discovered that one of its warehouses had been burgled and that more electronics had been stolen. The company likewise notified police and Westchester Surplus of the new loss, which was pegged at $97,533.

Westchester Surplus assigned an adjustor to the claims, and he reportedly asked for further documents to support them. Communications between the insurer and truckline continued for two-plus years, with Amerifreight finally threatening to sue unless the matter was concluded.

The trucking company said it has received no further communication from Westchester Surplus since July. So now it has followed through on its lawsuit threat and has demanded compensation for the losses.

Amerifreight accused Westchester Surplus of wrongful and improper failure to pay properly tendered claims. It further accused the insurer of acting fraudulently and in conscious disregard of Amerifreight’s rights as a policy holder, thus, it believes, entitling it to punitive damages.

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