An insurance company has to live up to the terms of the policy which includes paying for damages to covered property. It is a breach of the agreement for the insurance company to try to escape paying for the claim by using alternative facts, contending the property was damaged before the storm when their own inspections showed the property was, in fact, in good condition months before Hurricane Sally made landfall.
Hurricane Sally caused significant damage to the exterior of 14 condominium buildings in Gulf Breeze. The insurance company paid approximately 10% of the claim. When the condo association insisted upon being compensated fully per the terms of the insurance policy, the insurance company weaponized its policy requiring the production of records going back as far as 5 years and subjecting the condominium association and more than a hundred condo unit owners to multiple multi-day inspections. Instead of looking for covered losses, the insurance company began an “investigation” that became laser-focused on finding policy exclusions going as far as hiring a team of insurance engineers who were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and rendered a causation opinion favorable to the insurance company.
When the insurance company was trying to sell the condo association an insurance policy, their inspectors described the condition of the property as “in good condition” just months before the storm. However, when the insurance company was asked to pay the claim, the insurance company's inspectors made a full 180-degree pivot deciding, after the fact, the condition of the property was not satisfactory.
After months of delays, excuses, and a misguided investigation, the condo board of directors authorized Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock to take action to enforce their rights and hold the insurance company accountable. After 18 months of protracted litigation, on February 20, 2023, TWWH selected a jury in the first Hurricane Sally case to go to trial. TWWH gave their opening statement in the case, and after TWWH's first witness testified, the defendant insurance company agreed to resolve the claim.
Congratulations to our client as well as TWWH attorneys, Phillip Warren and Keith Weidner, paralegal, Jenni Osier, and the rest of the trial team. Our paralegal's organization and relentless efforts to gather and manage tens of thousands of documents, photos, and records allowed us to establish our client's case and defeat the defenses raised by the insurance company. Our entire team, from the moment we are retained by any client, is dedicated to taking all actions possible to recover what our client is owed.
We appreciate all of the time, specialized knowledge, and experience our local experts provided in the case. Furthermore, we are grateful for the willingness of the various unit owners, property managers, and local contractors who devoted their time and efforts to help bring out the facts and make sure the truth was not distorted.
Most of all, we are incredibly grateful to the jury for their service and their attention during the selection process and beginning of the trial. Their participation is essential. Our civil justice system only works when ordinary citizens sacrifice their time, and a jury's verdict is the only way ordinary citizens, like our clients, can hold insurance companies accountable.