Insurance agent failed to secure Jaguar policy, woman claims

Kelly Holleran Jul. 13, 2011, 11:47am

A woman has filed suit against the insurance agent who she claims failed to secure an insurance policy for her Jaguar despite a hefty down payment, causing the woman to go for hundreds of days without a vehicle following a collision.

Reflaye Y. Williams claims she should have had an insurance policy on her 2004 Jaguar on July 1, 2009, when she was involved in an accident, which caused her vehicle to become inoperable. However, defendant Tara Burgess allegedly failed to secure a policy on the vehicle, causing Williams to lose the use of her vehicle for 504 days, according to the complaint filed June 28 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Williams had met Burgess in an Applebee's parking lot in Shiloh days before the accident and filled out an insurance application for insurance with what appeared to be Allstate Indemnity Company, the suit states. During the June 26, 2009, meeting, Williams also paid a $612.50 down payment on the insurance policy, the complaint says.

When Burgess received the cash, she implied that coverage began that day, Williams claims.

"Defendant intended for Plaintiff to rely on Defendant's statements that Plaintiff was purchasing insurance through Allstate and that coverage was bound as of July 26, 2009," the suit states. "The statements were so made by the Defendant for the purpose and with the intent of deceiving and defrauding Plaintiff, and to induce Plaintiff, in reliance thereon, to purchase the insurance contract."

Later, Williams learned that she did not have insurance at the time of her collision because Burgess had failed to mail in the application form until June 29, 2009. In addition, Williams discovered that insurance had not been issued through Allstate, but rather through Illinois Automobile Insurance Plan, the complaint says.

In her three-count suit, Williams is seeking a judgment of more than $150,000, plus attorney's fees, punitive damages and costs.

John L. Bitzer of Bitzer Law Firm in Collinsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-640.

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