Granite City couple sues insurer over fire loss

Kelly Holleran Mar. 6, 2012, 12:57am

A Granite City couple has filed suit against the insurance agency that it claims caused it to lose more than $250,000 after a fire destroyed their home.

Eureka Hampton and Rufis Jefferson claim they purchased insurance through defendant Lueders Ross Agency to cover their home and its personal contents at 2416 Adams St. in Granite City.

When initially applying for the insurance policy, Hampton and Jefferson answered numerous questions over the phone. Their responses would be adequate to secure the insurance policy through Allied, the agency represented, according to the complaint filed Feb. 24 in Madison County Circuit Court.

On Oct. 20, 2009, a fire destroyed Hampton's and Jefferson's home, causing them to sustain damages of $194,954.65 to their home, personal property damages of $64,474.28 and living expenses of $39,956.98, the suit states.

Following the fire, Hampton and Jefferson applied for aid under their insurance policy. However, Allied denied their claim, saying they had not truthfully responded to all of the questions on their policy application, the complaint says.

Hampton and Jefferson contend the agency failed to ask them all of the questions included on their application, specifically whether they had filed for bankruptcy or been convicted of any felony.

"Plaintiffs reasonably relied upon Agency to properly and accurately take and process their application, and to supplying full, complete, and accurate information to Allied or other potential insurers," the suit states. "As a direct and proximate result of Agency's breach of its duty to supply accurate information on behalf of plaintiffs, plaintiffs have been denied coverage relating to alleged material misrepresentations or omissions in the application, and have thereby suffered damages in amounts equal to the value of the insurable property and interest lost in aforesaid house fire."

In their two-count complaint, Hampton and Jefferson are seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

They will be represented by Edward T. McCarthy of McCarthy and Allen in Edwardsville.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-252.

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