First came the wind, then the water…a look at the Spansel property

Map showing location of Spansel property
Pre-Katrina view of Spansel property showing addition and improvements made following purchase
Post-Katrina view of Spansel property
Post-Katria view of the Spansel property closer to the Bay - note indication of wind damage to the trees.

My earlier comment quoting text from Plaintiffs’ Response to State Farm’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment:

“The home was elevated 7 ft. 6 inches above grade…Plaintiffs also had a 20×16 elevated gazebo which was completed in June of 2005…”

“Defendant’s own expert William R. Dally acknowledged that wind gusts at Plaintiffs’ property reached 142 mph and cited 22.7 feet as the high water mark. Exhibit “J” at page 4, 5. Dally also acknowledged that the strongest winds preceded the peak surge by “about 1 hour.”

“Thus, it is clear from State Farm’s own internal records that it did not know the cause of the loss on October 3rd and attributed the damage to both wind and water on October 6th.”

“Then, on October 19th, without the benefit of an engineering report and even without the benefit of an on site inspection, State Farm determined that the damage was caused by flood.”

The Response also summarizes the Spansel’s opposition to State Farm’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment:

Based upon: (1) the fact that State Farm denied Plaintiffs’ claim before they even received their requested engineer’s report; (2) the fact that State Farm reflected its decision to deny Plaintiffs’ homeowners claim before an adjustor ever visited the Spansels’ property; (3) the fact that the Defendants still have not tendered any payment to the Plaintiffs under the homeowners policy despite acknowledged wind damage by Defendants’ own experts; and (4) State Farm’s failure to follow its own internal policy- State Farm’s Motion should be denied.

Policy limits and payment history are also included:

During the spring of 2005, Charles Spansel went into Agent Steve Saucier’s office to review all of his coverages based on a concern that he might be underinsured. See Exhibit “B” at page 28, 41, 55. Mr. Spansel met with a woman in Saucier’s office, to whom he indicated that his house was now worth more money and that he wanted to “make sure [he] was covered.” SeeExhibit “B” at pages 55-56. Based on their conversation, Mr. Spansel increased the limits of his flood policy at that time. Exhibit “B” at page 55…

In August of 2005, Plaintiffs’ coverage under the Homeowners Policy included the following limits: $138,300.00 for Coverage A Dwelling; $103,725.00 for Coverage B Personal property; and $13,830.00 for Other Structures. See Exhibit “H”. The Policy also included Coverage A Replacement Cost, Option JF for Jewelry and Furs for up to $2,500.00, and Option OL for Ordinance/Law. See Exhibit “H”. Plaintiffs’ flood policy comprised $148,400.00 for Dwelling and $100,000.00 for Contents…

Defendant State Farm has paid Plaintiffs a total of only $148,400.00 (under the flood policy) for their structure despite Charles Spansel’s testimony that the house appraised for an amountin excess of $300,000.00 before the Plaintiffs invested more than $100,000.00 to renovate the property. Exhibit “B” at pages 36, 44, 48, 107.

The Spansels created and furnished a first floor eat-in kitchen when remodeling the property.

State Farm has paid the Plaintiffs only $100,000.00 for their personal property (under the flood policy) despite Charles Spansel’s testimony that the Adjustor told him he had “more than enough” to reach the flood policy limits for contents and testimony by Janet Spansel that the home was predominantly furnished with new contents. Exhibit “B” at page 36, 81 and Exhibit “F” at page 44.

Defendant State Farm has not paid Plaintiffs anything for their other structures despite Charles Spansel’s testimony that they spent $9,000 to $10,000 building the gazebo in 2005. Exhibit “B” at 49-51. Finally, Defendant State Farm has not paid the Plaintiffs anything for their jewelry despite Janet Spansel’s testimony that she had a couple of necklaces and an opal ring in the home. See Deposition of Janet Spansel, attached as Exhibit “N” at pages 18-19.

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