Insurance company has $6 million dispute with Hockley County - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Insurance company has $6 million dispute with Hockley County

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Hail that fell in Levelland on the evening of March 19, 2011. (Photo by Whitney Owens, Provided by the National Weather Service) Hail that fell in Levelland on the evening of March 19, 2011. (Photo by Whitney Owens, Provided by the National Weather Service)
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

An insurance company is accusing Hockley County of inflating a damage claim by more than $6 million. National Fire Insurance filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, saying Hockley County made claims on hail damage for six buildings following a storm on March 19, 2011.

National says its adjuster found hail damage and the company paid a claim of about $22,000 for the Library and another $17,000 for four buildings including the courthouse.

But then, later, National says Hockley County filed an amended claim for $6,771,983.50 on 14 buildings including the courthouse, courthouse annex, library, EMS building, hospital, senior citizens building and others.

National says the claims are not supported by any evidence and the company wants a declaratory judgement, which would allow the company to not pay anything on Hockley County's amended claim.

The lawsuit says, "the wholly unsupported estimate included claims for alleged hail damage to fourteen (14) buildings owned by Hockley County."

National Weather Service records for the day in question say, "This thunderstorm brought ... golf ball sized hail ... in Levelland and near Smyer."

But the lawsuit also says there was roof damage from a different cause, namely "manufacturing defects, and/or improper installation." National says such damage was found at the courthouse annex, senior citizens association, the new jail and other rooftops.

It says an engineering firm identified "blistering" which is caused by moisture trapped inside the roofing material, and National thinks it happened, "during the recent re-roofing of each building."

KCBD NewsChannel 11 was unable to locate an after-hours number for the County Attorney. We will try to follow up on Wednesday and offer the County a chance to comment.

Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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