Max Schramel Sep. 15, 2014, 7:03am


NEW ORLEANS – An insurer is being sued for allegedly providing an inadequate estimate for property damage that occurred at a New Orleans commercial property during Hurricane Isaac.

Hiker LLC filed suit against Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Company in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Hiker states on Aug. 29, 2012, Hurricane Isaac struck New Orleans and allegedly caused devastating and catastrophic damages to the insured premises. Following Hurricane Isaac, the plaintiff claims it notified the defendant in a timely manner of the losses suffered. However, the defendant’s insurance claims adjuster estimated the amount in total damages to $42,373, an amount that is alleged to be grossly insufficient, according to the petitioner. After the estimate, the petitioner argued with the defendant of the completely inaccurate nature of the calculated costs to no avail, the suit says

On May 15, 2013, the defendant sent another adjuster to inspect the premises, a full nine and a half months after Hurricane Isaac. On May 23, 2013, the defendant sent the petitioner a report entitled “Business Damage Evaluation” prepared by U.S. Forensics, which denied the existence of damages to certain doors on the insured property.

The plaintiff claims it continued an investigation of the precise amount in damages by obtaining an independent detailed estimate of the losses sustained to the insured premises, calculated at $1,644,514.03.

The plaintiff contends it submitted the independent estimate to the defendant on Aug. 27, 2013 and that within two days, the defendant denied the plaintiff’s claims, including proof of loss. On Oct. 23, 2013, the defendant alleges it issued a supplemental report after meeting with the petitioner at the insured premises, basically reiterating the same conclusions as the initial report. On Dec. 18, 2013, the defendant allegedly offered the plaintiff an increased estimate to $55,287.27, which the petitioner still refused to accept.

The defendant is accused of failing to conduct a reasonable and thorough inspection of the insured premises, adequately inspect the loss, provide an accurate receipt of sufficient proof of loss, unconditionally tender the undisputed amounts owed under the petitioner’s policy, tender the undisputed losses within the allowable delays, as well as breaching the policy of insurance.

The plaintiff is seeking upwards of $1,644,514.03 under the Louisiana Insurance Code, La. R.S. 22:1892, La. R.S. 23:1973, making the defendant liable for statutory bad faith penalties.

The plaintiff is represented by attorney Kernan A. Hand.

The case has been assigned to Div. H Pro Tempore Judge Lynn Luker.

Case no. 2014-07408.

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