HIDALGO COUNTY JURY FINDS IN FAVOR OF INSURER IN DISPUTED HAIL DAMAGE CLAIM
In a venue widely thought to be highly unfavorable to insurers, last week a Hidalgo County found that USAA did not breach the insurance contract, the duty of good faith and fair dealing or commit any statutory violations of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act in disputing coverage for additional claims asserted by the insured and their public adjuster. In Salinas v. USAA Texas Lloyds Company, No. C-1071-14-H, 389th Judicial District Hidalgo County, Texas, the insured presented a claim for hail damage to the insured residence arising from a March 29, 2012, hailstorm. USAA investigated the loss and paid to repair the roof, repair the stucco, replace the garage door and to repair the swimming pool equipment. And the insured ultimately completed the covered repairs for less than the amounts paid by USAA. But the insured disputed the amount owed and sought payment for a full concrete roof replacement, re-plastering of the swimming pool due to acid washing, repair of patio columns and replacement of the air conditioning unit among other damages.
When USAA confirmed its earlier findings and refused to issue additional payments, the insured filed a lawsuit in Hidalgo County alleging breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, statutory violations of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and also sought exemplary damages. USAA was undaunted and presented the issues to a Hidalgo County jury. And last week, the jury returned a defense verdict in USAA’s favor on all claims, both contractual and extra-contractual, confirming USAA’s firm belief that it had satisfied the contract and met its duty of good faith and fair dealing in addressing its member’s claim.
Editor’s Note: Martin, Disiere, Jefferson and Wisdom congratulate USAA and its trial counsel, David Kinder and Larissa Fields and Victor V. Vicinaiz of Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher, L.L.P.