The massive October 5, 2010, Arizona hailstorm spawned significant damage to consumers and business owners across Maricopa County, as well as jury verdicts against those insurance companies that refused to live up to their promises to timely and properly pay for the full amount of damages sustained by their insureds. American Family Mutual Insurance Company (“American Family”), one of the largest property insurers in Arizona and across the western United States, was recently unanimously found guilty by a federal jury in Phoenix of breaching its contract for full replacement coverage of our client’s commercial office building in the Scottsdale Airpark business park owned after undervaluing the damage by over $210,000. The jury’s verdict confirmed that American Family’s adjusters at Pacesetter, as well as its home office adjusters and managers, undervalued the damage caused by the wind, hail, and rain to our client’s property by insisting that no more than $30,000 worth of damage to the building’s roof, windows, and exterior was sustained in the storm, despite overwhelming evidence of much more significant losses.
Our client depended on American Family to keep its promises to provide full replacement coverage in return for the premiums paid. The storm caused roof damage that led to serious leaking inside the building that began on the date of the storm and continued with every significant rain thereafter, resulting in ongoing interior damage. The storm also caused leaking through windows, marred the building’s exterior and damaged the carports. The building’s air conditioning (HVAC) units also required replacement after the storm, and American Family refused to pay for more than minor repairs. The evidence at trial confirmed that American Family’s initial adjuster spent less than 90 minutes at the property before issuing his evaluation, and refused every effort to secure a more thorough and comprehensive evaluation of the impact on the property.
The jury found that American Family breached its contract with our client and that as a result of the breach, now owes more than $210,000. The Commercial Insurance Bad Faith Practice of Doyle LLP has decades of experience in forcing insurers into compliance with the law for the benefit of our clients. If you are an Arizona business owner and believe your insurance company has engaged in an improper delay or denial of policy benefits, contact Doyle LLP Trail Lawyers today for assistance.