Hurricane season may be coming to a close, but it is open season on insurance companies. The aftermath of Ivan and other hurricanes has created a completely new kind of storm surge — hurricane claim litigation. And one Pensacola, Fla. attorney, Samuel Bearman, is setting the stage for a battle of mammoth proportions.
“A lot of insurance companies are basically abandoning their customers by refusing to pay out reasonable amounts on hurricane damage claims,” says Bearman, leading attorney in hurricane claim litigation. “Sometimes they deny coverage altogether and pay nothing.”
“Can you imagine paying those premiums for all those years — thinking that you’d be covered if a hurricane hit — and then when you need your insurance company the most, they basically tell you to jump off a bridge? It’s unconscionable. I am more determined than ever to help my clients get the money they’re entitled to to rebuild their homes, their businesses … and their lives,” says a resolute Bearman.
In fact, he has already begun. In a lawsuit dated October 28, 2004 and filed in the Circuit Court of Escambia County, Florida, by the Law Offices of Samuel W. Bearman, Bearman has initiated what is believed to be the first Hurricane Ivan lawsuit in Pensacola.
In the suit, Finley v. United States Automobile Association, Bearman alleges that the defendant breached its insurance policy agreement by not paying the Finleys for the total loss of their house and for its contents due to Ivan. He also alleges the defendant should have advised his clients of the availability of, and reasonable need to purchase, flood insurance. He primarily seeks damages in the suit.
“This is only the beginning,” Bearman comments. He expects a merciless barrage of hurricane lawsuits to ensue so long as insurance companies continue to “absolve themselves of responsibility.”
Bearman, who filed over 50 hurricane lawsuits after Hurricane Opal in 1995 and who recently authored the widely-circulated report, “12 Things You Should Know When Filing Your Hurricane Damage Claim,” has received significant television, radio and newspaper coverage for his hurricane law experience.