Insurer sued over policyholder's under-insured coverage

Andrea Dearden May 4, 2012, 8:00am

Members of a St. Clair County family say an insurance carrier refuses to negotiate a settlement after they were allegedly hurt in a crash with an underinsured driver in Belleville.

Eric Bechtold, Sarah Bechtold, individually and on behalf of her minor daughter, and Clarence Snyder filed a lawsuit April 12 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Automobile Club Inter-Insurance Exchange.

According to the complaint, Eric Bechtold was driving a Dodge Caravan in April 2010 with his wife, Sarah, the couple's children and Snyder as passengers. As they were heading north on Frank Scott Parkway and crossed the intersection of West Main Street, the Bechtolds say Kathy Molos, driving in the opposite direction, tried to turn left onto West Main Street and crashed into the Caravan.

The Bechtolds and Snyder claim Molos's insurance provider had a policy limit of $40,000 and agreed to divide that amount among the people riding in the minivan that day. The Bechtolds and Snyder say they agreed to the settlement that Molos's insurance company offered.

The Bechtolds claim their insurance policy with AAA carried underinsured coverage up to $100,000, so they allegedly tried to make a claim under those provisions to cover the entire amount of their actual damages, which they say exceeded the settlement amount offered by Molos's insurance provider.

The Bechtolds and Snyder allege AAA will not agree to a payment amount and refuses to go to arbitration. They ask for a judgement of actual damages totalling more than $60,000 plus court costs.

They are represented by attorney Kevin Boyne of Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 12-L-179

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