Man claims insurer dropped him after he refused settlement offer

Kelly Holleran May 5, 2010, 6:23am

A man claims his insurance company wrongly dropped his claim after he refused to accept their settlement offers.

Eric J. Kloepper claims he purchased an automobile insurance policy through Geico Casualty Company, which was supposed to protect him if his car was damaged by the owner of an uninsured vehicle.

On Oct. 27, 2007, Kloepper was driving at the intersection of Illinois Route 203 and North Rhodes Street in Madison when an uninsured driver struck his vehicle, according to his complaint filed April 29 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Because of the collision, Kloepper sustained severe and permanent injuries and incurred medical costs, the suit states.

After the collision, Kloepper provided Geico with all requested information, the complaint says. Later, he was involved in settlement negotiations on Oct. 28, 2008, July 7 and Nov. 10. However, Kloepper claims he rejected all of Geico's settlement offers.

Kloepper and Geico then proceeded to commence arbitration, and on Jan. 28, Geico's attorney repeated his final settlement offer, the details of which are not specified in the complaint. Geico advised Kloepper that if he failed to accept their offer by Feb. 3, the insurance company's offer would be withdrawn, Kloepper's claim would be denied and Geico would withdraw from arbitration proceedings, according to the complaint.

On Feb. 17, Geico did withdrew its settlement offer, withdrew from the arbitration and denied Kloepper's claim, the suit states.

"Defendant, in refusing to arbitrate plaintiff's claim, breached its insurance contract and acted in a vexatious and unreasonable manner, resulting in plaintiff suffering great damage," the complaint says.

In his two-count complaint, Kloepper is seeking a judgment of $100,000 to compensate him for his injuries and medical costs or, in the alternative, an order that Geico arbitrate his claim for damages he sustained in the collision. He also seeks court costs, attorney's fees, interest, a sum of not more than 60 percent of the amount the court determines Kloepper is entitled to recover, punitive damages of $60,000, plus other relief the court deems just.

William J. Mateyka of Mateyka and Associates in Granite City will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-466.

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