Chicago Insurance Co. sues agent, others to recover $1 million

Kelly Holleran Jul. 30, 2009, 3:54am

An insurance company is seeking $1 million after it says it was forced to dole out more money than it should have been required to an accident victim.

Chicago Insurance Company filed a lawsuit July 24 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against insurance agent Kenton Harper and insurance producers Heartland Insurance and Med James.

Chicago Insurance Company claims it was forced to pay Kitianna Sumner $300,000 in a settlement after she filed suit against the company for not paying her the money she claims she was entitled to under the uninsured motorist policy.

Sumner demanded $350,000 after being involved in an accident on June 1, 2006, in East St. Louis. She was driving a 1993 Pontiac Bonneville owned by William Moore, according to the complaint.

Before the accident, Moore had gone through Heartland Insurance and Harper to obtain coverage beginning on June 6, 2004, suit states. He procured a policy that included uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000 and bodily injury coverage of $350,000, the complaint says.

Moore later renewed the coverage for June 6, 2005, through June 6, 2006, through Med James.

Because Moore was not required to fill out a form rejecting uninsured motorist coverage equal to bodily injury coverage, Sumner claimed she should have been entitled to $350,000 instead of the $50,000 Chicago Insurance Company was willing to pay her.

But Chicago Insurance Company contends it should never have been required to pay the extra $300,000 to Sumner.

"Defendants, Kenton Harper and Heartland Insurance, breached their duty to exercise ordinary care in that they negligently failed to obtain a selection/rejection form that complied with Section 143a-2 of the Illinois Insurance Code, 215 ILCS 5/143a-2 signed by William Moore which indicated that he rejected uninsured motorist coverage in an amount equal to the bodily injury coverage provided by the Garage Liability Policies," the suit states. "Defendants altered the risk accepted by plaintiff and caused plaintiff to suffer damages in the amount paid to the claimant in excess of $50,000."

When Moore renewed the policy, Med James was guilty of the same negligent act, according to the complaint.

In the three-count suit, Chicago Insurance Company is seeking a judgment of $1 million, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Madelyn J. Lamb of Hinshaw and Culbertson in Belleville will be representing it.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-393.

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