Troy property owner sues Pekin Insurance alleging wind damage claim underpaid

Kelly Holleran Dec. 14, 2011, 12:52am


The owner of a Troy property alleges his insurance company refuses to pay him an adequate sum for damages sustained to his premises after tornado force winds struck the area earlier this year.

Ralph Jameson filed a lawsuit Dec. 6 in Madison County Circuit Court against Pekin Insurance Company.

Jameson alleges tornado force winds struck Troy on Feb. 27 and Feb. 28, causing substantial damages to his property at 440 Edwardsville Rd. in Troy. At the time of the incident, Jameson had an insurance policy through Pekin Insurance Co. that he thought covered the building for $420,000 worth of damages, according to the complaint.

However, when Jameson attempted to redeem coverage for the damages he claims he sustained, Pekin refused to adequately reimburse him, the suit states.

"That following the loss the Defendant, by its agents, advised the Plaintiff, and he learned for the first time, that it was Defendant's position that the policy did not protect in the full amount of any loss he sustained, but that he was substantially underinsured, and that any loss he sustained would be approximately '60% covered,'" the complaint says. "In other words he was being told that on any loss he sustained he would be penalized approximately 40%."

Jameson alleges Pekin is guilty of deceptive acts because it concealed its opinion that Jameson's property was substantially underinsured and because it failed to reveal that it would be using a replacement cost figure in excess of the insurance Jameson requested for full coverage, among other deceptive acts.

Jameson and other insureds believed they were securing full coverage for their properties, but were actually being sold a policy that provided substantially less money for damages, according to the complaint.

"Briefly, this unfair or deceptive practice allowed the Defendant a 'win-win situation,' at the expense of its insureds with more insurance sold on the front end as a result of lower premiums, and if losses should occur, a reduction in the amount of the loss," the suit states.

Not only did Pekin deceive Jameson, it also failed to properly investigate his claim, failed to make a reasonable offer and failed to consider all of the damages to the property, the complaint says.

In his three-count complaint, Jameson alleges Pekin Insurance Co. violated the Consumer Fraud Act, breached its contract and committed vexatious conduct.

He seeks a judgment of $340,678.91, plus costs and attorney's fees.

James E. Gorman of Lucco, Brown, Threlkeld and Dawson in Edwardsville will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-1303.

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