An Update from Our Firm about COVID-19

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner remains fully operational and committed to serving our clients and colleagues throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. As we follow the CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, we remain available for phone consultations and scheduled in-person meetings with both current and prospective clients and colleagues. Please contact our office by email or by calling 713-222-7211 with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Great American Insurance takes the "Smoke and Mirrors" Award

The insurance industry never ceases to amaze me. Occasionally, the industry amazes me for something they have done to positively change the lives of individuals they touch. Unfortunately, the insurance industry usually amazes me by the greed they exhibit when dealing with their policy holders and the public at large. Recently, the Great American Insurance Company may have taken the prize -- literally -- for the extreme position they filed with the Houston Federal Court attempting to invoke an insurance policy exclusion to avoid paying a fire claim.

In the inaugural year, Great American Insurance Company is the winner of the 2008 "Smoke and Mirrors" Award. This award will be given annually to the insurance company that takes the greediest or most ridiculous position in a calendar year. In 2008, Great American may have done both.

This insurance company provided insurance to Boxer Property Management Company and 9343 North Loop L.P. for the building located at 9343 North Loop East. The six-story building had a fire in March 2007 in which 11 people were trapped as a result of the thick smoke that was a natural byproduct of the fire. Eight people were rescued by the valiant efforts of the Houston Fire Department, while three truly "great Americans" lost their lives as a result of smoke inhalation. Great American provided a $25 million excess insurance policy that would cover the wrongful death liability of Boxer and 9343 for these three deaths, but Great American has now denied their liability under a "pollution exclusion" provision of the insurance policy. They argue that because the word "smoke" is in the definition of pollution in the "pollution exclusion", and these mothers and this father died from smoke inhalation (not burning to death), then Great American does not have to pay under the policy. I assume we should all recognize that if we are faced with a life ending scenario, we should jump in the flames to make sure the insurance company remains obligated to its insurance policy.

We should all be outraged by the conduct of insurance companies who take such ludicrous positions, such as this one take by Great American. But hey -- it won them the inaugural "Smoke and Mirrors" Award. Maybe Great American Insurance will tout this award on their website the same as they tout their company as a "trusted" specialty insurance partner whose employees "are expected to conduct themselves with integrity in a legal, ethical and moral manner." Great American states on its website that it focuses on insurance products and services in areas they have significant expertise and knowledge. I guess their expertise is really in collecting premiums while not paying out claims to the detriment of their customers and the public at large.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • $50+ Million Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs, taking a lead role in the plaintiffs’ steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Plant Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Worksite Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm’s client.

  • $12 Million 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $48 Million Catastrophic Burns

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $48 million.

Our Record Of Success

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

Read More Success Stories

Let Us Help You Request a Free Consultation Today

Get Help Now

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Back to top