By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
GRAND Bahama homeowners whose residential properties were destroyed a year ago during Hurricane Dorian are taking legal action in the Supreme Court against a major bank and insurance companies for allegedly failing to pay premiums on their insurance policies.
Beryn Duncanson, of Bahamas Claims Assistants Co Ltd, has filed writs in the Supreme Court on behalf of Marvin and Latalia Dames, and Laura Lorraine Jones and Latory Pivonne Simmons who both have home mortgages with First Caribbean International Bank.
The properties, located in Freeport, sustained major damage last September and were considered a total loss. The plaintiffs believed their homes were effectively insured at the time.
Mr and Mrs Dames, owners of a residential property at No 110 Explorer’s Way, Hudson Estates East, Freeport, are suing the bank and Insurance Management (Bahamas) Ltd for negligence and breach of contract.
Ms Jones and Mr Simmons, owners of a residential property at No 3 Ingrave Drive, Freeport, are suing the bank and Colina General Insurance Agents & Brokers Limited, and Bahamas First General Insurance Company Limited.
According to a statement of claim filed on November 26, 2019, the Dames’ property sustained damage estimated at a total loss where insurance coverage had previously been $110,000.
Ms Jones and Mr Simmons had insurance coverage of some $209,000.
When the homeowners sought to make a claim against their insurance policy they were subsequently advised by the bank (the first defendant) and the insurance company (the second defendant) that no insurance policy for the property had been renewed or effected.
It is claimed that due to the grievous neglect of the bank to pay insurance premiums the policy was cancelled without notice of any kind from either the bank or the insurance companies.
“It was an implied term of the contract that the first defendant would act with reasonable care and skill acting as broker/agents and as a fiduciary. By reason of the breach of contract and/or negligence of the defendants, the plaintiffs suffered loss and damage.”
In the statement of negligence and breach of contract, it is further alleged that in addition to failing to pay insurance premiums to the insurers reasonably, promptly or at all – and the defendants failing to advise the plaintiffs that insurance premiums had not been paid – they also failed to notify that there was any default and/or expiry of the insurance policy, failed to effect renewal of an adequate insurance homeowners policy or at all for the subject property, and failed to take reasonable care and skill to ensure that their clients’ insurance needs were clearly met; and failed to act with reasonable care and skill of that of a competent broker/agent/insurer an/or fiduciary.
It is also claimed that the plaintiffs suffered considerable emotional distress and inconveniences as a result.