By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
LAWSUITS have been filed against insurance companies in Freeport over their alleged failure to make proper payment for insurance claims filed over property damage associated with Hurricane Dorian.
Attorney Beryn Duncanson, of Bahamas Claims Assistants Co Ltd, filed writs in the Supreme Court on behalf of four clients against JS Johnson & Company Ltd/Island Heritage Insurance Company Ltd, and Star General Insurance Agents and Brokers/Royal Star Assurance Ltd and Safeguard Insurance Brokers.
The plaintiffs are Annrine Johnson, Samantha Gibson, Shimron and Delerease Rolle, and Sean and Shana Simmons, who are claiming that their insurers negligently failed to offer them the proper amounts due to them for loss and damage suffered.
Mr Duncanson claims that the insurance providers have also refused requests to make interim payments to his clients, therefore causing them “willful emotional distress and inconvenience”.
The attorney believes that the insurers’ actions are “exerting considerable pressure on the clients to accept an offer that is at undervalue.”
In the case of Ms Johnson, a quantity surveyor estimated she had more than $39,000 worth of hurricane damage to her home in Yeoman Wood Subdivision. She was insured by JS Johnson/ Island Heritage Insurance.
According to the writ, the defendants negligently placed the loss at just 6.66 percent or $12,000 (before deductible and claimed under-insurance) yielding only $6,067.46, which was offered to Ms Johnson, who has refused the offer.
In the case of Ms Gibson, a resident of Heritage Subdivision, her property sustained damage estimated at a coverage value of $100,000. She made an insurance claim for the full amount to repair her home.
According to the writ, the defendants through their loss adjuster agents are accused of negligently placing loss at just 60 percent, or $64,924.25, which Ms Gibson has refused with no answer from the defendant.
The Rolles, who reside at the Gardens at Sunrise Subdivision, sustained damage estimated at a total loss of $79,760.32. The couple made a claim for the damage with Safeguard Insurance Brokers/Royal Assurance, which instead placed the loss and damage at 16.67 percent of the insured amount, or $15,000.
The couple refused the offer, and defendants subsequently offered $24,000 as a last and final offer.
Sean and Shana Simmons, of Santa Maria Drive, Freeport, sustained catastrophic damage suffering a total loss of $533,900 as a covered amount. The couple made a claim with Star General Insurance Agents and Brokers/Royal Assurance Ltd.
According to the writ, the defendants or their employees, agents or brokers subsequently offered $523,222 on the basis as a total loss, less 2 percent excess deductible.
The Simmons accepted the offer in full and as a final settlement. However, it is claimed that the defendants, in breach of the agreement, abandoned the initial offer agreement and instead offered the plaintiffs $337,000, which they have declined to accept.
The defendants then offered the plaintiffs a cheque for the initial amount of $523,222 conditional upon the building being bulldozed. The Simmons refused to accept any interim payment or cheque put them on the basis of that offer.
Mr Duncanson said he has served statutory demands on Royal Assurance about interim payments they should have allegedly made.
The matter will be heard in court on Friday.