In January of 2011, 10 ACE Group Companies agreed to pay $70 million in settlement fees to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board after an investigation into whether certain insurance companies had been overcharging policyholders.
Texas Firm Says ACE Unit Altered Documents to Coerce Cheap Settlement
Tommy Manion of Texas Inc. said in a petition filed in federal court in Sherman, Texas, that the ACE Group unit fudged an appraiser’s report in a bid to pay just 10 percent of what was due to the firm.
Indemnity had sold a farm owners policy to Manion that was effective May 1st, 2013, until May 1st, 2014. Just two weeks after the policy began, the Texan quarter horse ranch was swept by a hailstorm, which was a covered incident.
Manion said that Indemnity hired Team One Adjusting Services to assess the damage. Tim Bates, an adjustor working with Team One, in a report completed by late June, estimated damage to building on the property at $900,000 to $1 million.
Indemnity allegedly “tricked” Manion into accepting much less money. It allegedly did so in part by altering the adjustor’s report to indicate that a cheaper kind of steel sheeting was used for roofing.
Indemnity first offered $90,000 to settle the claim, but later bumped that to approximately 40 percent of what Manion said it was due. In September, Manion hired its own appraiser, who estimated damages to be $904.975. By then, Indemnity had paid approximately $450,000.
In asking for damages, Manion accused Indemnity of breach of contract, breach of duty to deal in good faith, and employing bad faith settlement practices. Manion also said that Indemnity’s “unsavory conduct” voids its right to invoke an appraisal process to try to find a settlement amount.
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