Newnan’s lawyer sues insurance company over “depreciation” dispute
A Newnan lawyer filed a federal lawsuit against a Michigan-based insurance company alleging the company failed to compensate policyholders after the March 2021 tornado.
The lawsuit, filed by Taylor Drake, alleges that the Auto-Owners Insurance Company of Lansing, Michigan, did not pay for the decrease in fair market value of two properties Drake owns on LaGrange Street and Boone Drive.
“Decrease in value” describes the loss in value of a property even after repairs have been made to restore the property to its original condition.
The lawsuit was filed last Thursday in U.S. District Court in Northwestern Georgia.
While the company compensated Drake for damage suffered in the March tornado, Drake claims it did not pay for the decrease in fair market value of the two properties.
Georgia state law states that policyholders can recover loss of value after repair as part of their property damage claims, as discussed in Royal Capital Development LLC v. Maryland Casualty Co.
Drake alleges that in 2015 Auto-Owners Insurance Company attempted to incorporate a decrease in the value exclusion into the two policies covering the LaGrange Street and Boone Drive properties.
However, Georgian law states that if an existing policy is renewed, it cannot reduce coverage at the same time. He can only issue a non-renewal notice and then create a new policy containing the exclusion.
Georgian law also requires that a written notice of reduced coverage be issued 30 days in advance of any proposed reduction, which Drake says was never sent.
Drake also alleges that in 2015, the auto owners’ insurance company attempted to reduce coverage while increasing policy premiums for both properties.
The company continued to increase premiums for each subsequent year, Drake said.
Drake seeks full payment for the declining value of the properties, valued at $ 43,000, as well as punitive damages and attorney fees.