Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How to take on a bully and win!


What would you do if your community suffered millions of dollars in hurricane damages and your insurance company told you to get lost? If you are the 320-unit North Miami Beach Dome Condominium, you fight back!

The Dome Condominium suffered damage to their roofs, drywall, elevators, sliding glass doors, windows and mechanical systems as a result of Hurricane Wilma tearing through their community on October 24, 2005.

Their insurer, QBE Insurance Corporation, accused the condominium of committing insurance fraud and attempted to paint most of the damage as existing prior to Wilma. The association hit back hard by filing a breach of contract lawsuit against QBE. I'm proud to say that my law firm, Katzman Garfinkel Rosenbaum (KGR) took this case to trial on December 2-18, 2009 and, after deliberating for 8 hours, the jury returned a verdict of $3.867 million dollars against QBE. With pre-judgment interest and attorney's fees, the total should reach $5.5 million.
The jury concluded that Dome did not intentionally conceal or misrepresent facts to QBE or fail to comply with the QBE policy conditions. The jury further concluded that QBE breached its insurance contract with the association by failing to pay for covered hurricane losses.

It's not easy standing up to threats of insurance fraud that are tossed around by some insurance companies who don't want to pay their customers' claims but it can provide much-needed funds for those associations bold enough to do so. There is a five (5) year statute of limitations to pursue casualty claims in the State of Florida which means after October 24, 2010, associations who were also told to get lost will no longer have a cause of action or an opportunity to recover substantial sums of money that may be owed to them. How do you fight a bully and win? Ask Dome Condominium and the hundreds of other associations who have also done so and won. We have set up a special website to answer any questions those of you who suffered Wilma storm damage may have; please visit www.wilmaclaims.com.

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