Property insurer sued over Hurricane Isaac payments

By Lizzy Fitzsousa | Jun 10, 2014

Satellite image of Hurricane Isaac in Aug. 2012

NEW ORLEANS – A local couple is suing their insurance company for underpayment of more than $50,000 for damages to their house duringHurricane Isaac.

Barbara P. and Joe R. Cheatham filed suit against Americas Insurance Company in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on March 5.

The plaintiffs allege they held a policy from Americas Insurance Company during Hurricane Isaac on Aug. 29, 2012. The Cheathams filed a claim for roof damage, the resulting water damage and damage to the exterior and interior of the property and claim the adjuster did not spend adequate time at the property and failed to fully and properly evaluate the cause and extent of the damage. According to the suit, the adjuster took advantage of the plaintiffs’ lack of knowledge and tried to convince them the damage was minimal. A Sept. 10, 2012 inspection by Americas listed their damages at $5,000 and re-inspection on May 7, 2013 raised the damages to $8,100. The Cheathams assert their damages were approximately $60,000, according to an estimate from Gulfcoast Estimating Services.

The defendants are accused of breach of contract.

The plaintiffs are represented by Shelly R. Hale of Speights & Worrich of New Orleans.

Americas answered on the suit on March 26 arguing that the Cheathams failed to comply with their policy, and claimed losses were caused by “wear and tear, marring, deterioration,” “rust, smog,” “inherent defect” and other uncovered causes.

Americas is represented by attorneys William D. Shea, Kellen J. Mathews and Rebecca G. Smith of Baton Rouge.

Case is assigned to Division N Judge Ethel S. Julien.

Case no. 2014-02232.

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