Case Results

The Pennebaker Law Firm has collected over $150 million on behalf of South Texas property owners who were underpaid by their insurance companies since the spring of 2012.

South Texas

McAllen, Hidalgo County —

A Hidalgo County Homeowner hired Pennebaker Law after his homeowner’s insurer—Allstate—refused to properly pay his wind and hail claim. The homeowner had an expensive, fiberglass-composite-shingle roof. Allstate only wanted to pay the cost to patch this roof rather than replace it. Even after we filed suit, Allstate’s corporate adjuster refused to provide a reasonable offer. Our client therefore exercised his right to demand appraisal under the terms of the policy. We petitioned the court to appoint an independent umpire. The appraisal was a success for our client. The appraisal panel awarded $95,742.45, which included replacement of the entire roof, as well as related interior damages.

Hidalgo Texas, Hidalgo County —

A warehouse owner hired Pennebaker Law after his insurance company paid him only $1,231.31 on his wind and hail claim. In typical fashion, the insurance company hired an insurance-oriented, biased engineer to substantiate the low ball payment on the claim. After we filed suit against our client’s insurance company and independent adjusting firm, we were able to settle on behalf of our client for $237,500. An imminent trial setting may have been the leverage we needed to obtain favorable settlement for our client.

San Antonio Storm, Bexar County —

A homeowner promptly filed a claim after the April 2016, San Antonio hail storm. This young lady had owned her home 10 years, and had never experienced roof leaks before the storm. Her large, national insurer sent an inexperienced, out-of-state adjuster. He paid her only $33.00 dollars on the claim. Although her home was in the swath zone of 3” hail, the home had a built-up gravel roof, making it difficult to identify visible damage. However, Pennebaker Law hired experts with experience working with gravel-roof systems. After this young homeowner retained Pennebaker Law, the insurer paid her $72,500. Now, she can replace her leaking roof.

This case was resolved very early in the litigation process, and before any depositions were taken.

Mcallen Storm, Hidalgo County —

A Mcallen doctor made a claim with his insurer after his clay-tile roof was damaged by a significant hail storm. The large insurance company sent a biased adjuster and engineering firm. They conducted an outcome-oriented investigation. They denied his claim after concluding that the damage to the clay tiles was caused by anything and everything other than the storm (i.e., foot traffic, thermal expansion, installation defects, wear and tear, etc.). All the factors cited by the insurance company as having caused the damage were, of course, excluded by the policy. After the doctor hired Pennebaker Law, the insurer agreed to pay $90,000 on his claim. Now the insured has sufficient funds to replace his tile roof.

San Antonio Hail Claim —

A local San Antonio dentist gave his insurer prompt notice after a wind and hail storm damaged his office building. The insurance company investigated the claim, basically determining that the 15-20-year-old gravel-and-bitumen roof was toward the end of its useful life, and only paid $38,000 on the claim.

They denied the majority of the claim based on a “wear and tear” exclusion. The insurance company hired biased experts, including structural engineers, to rubber stamp a prior claim decision. Pennebaker Law hired competent and persuasive experts before filing a lawsuit on the dentist’s behalf. We alleged damages to include: replacing the roof, interior water damage, lost rents, penalties and attorneys’ fees. After a few depositions, the case settled for $353,000.

MCallen Storm Claim–Hidalgo County —

The small business owner of a car wash hired Pennebaker Law after his large national insurer paid only $20,364.00 on his hail damage claim. After filing suit, we promptly settled his case for an additional $100,000.

Border Plaza V State Farm —

A small business owner in Mcallen hired Pennebaker Law after becoming frustrated with State Farm over a wind and hail claim. State Farm had issued a low-ball payment totaling $22,855; the building’s policy limits totaled $301,000.

After filing suit on behalf of Border Plaza, we attempted to negotiate informally, but State Farm offered only an additional $45,000, which our client declined. We therefore exercised our right to have the damage amount determined by appraisal. Each side appointed a competent, independent appraiser, but the appraisers couldn’t agree on the loss amount.

We therefore petitioned the court to appoint a neutral umpire. The umpire and our appraiser agreed, rendering a favorable appraisal award of $142,867.89 and forcing State Farm to pay. The appraisal award included only repair costs. The case is therefore still pending, with Pennebaker Law seeking additional damages against State Farm for attorney’s fees, penalties and interest.

Mcallen-Hidalgo County —

An elderly couple hired Pennebaker Law after their insurer refused to pay a claim for hail and wind damage. Their first language was Spanish. The insurance company hired a biased engineering firm that conducted an outcome-oriented investigation. Unsurprisingly, the biased engineer determined that the home’s clay-tile roof didn’t sustain any storm damage. Equally predictable, the insurance company used the engineering report as a pretextual basis to deny the entire claim.

Although the homeowners wanted the claim payed, they didn’t want an extended trial-by-jury. Therefore, Pennebaker Law demanded appraisal per the terms of the insurance policy, and the appraisal panel returned a favorable award of $72,692.65. We also filed suit because the insurer had improperly denied the claim, forcing the policyholders to retain counsel. The lawsuit was settled for a confidential sum above and beyond the appraisal award.

Eagle Pass, Texas, Maverick County —

Pennebaker Law recently helped a family from Eagle Pass who was struggling to get their insurance company to properly pay a storm claim for their small, commercial business. Despite the family’s best efforts, the insurance company had only paid a few thousand dollars on their wind and hail claim. After becoming frustrated with the insurance company’s refusal to properly pay the claim, the family hired our firm. We retained the proper experts to document the full extent of property damage. After filing suit on behalf of the family-owned business, the insurance company agreed to mediate the case prior to trial. At mediation, we amicably settled the case for $280,000 without having a single court hearing or taking a single deposition. 

Hidalgo County Storm Claims —

After the 2012 wind and hail storms in Hidalgo County, Pennebaker Law represented a group of homeowners whom were all insured by the same national insurance company. The cases were referred to us by several attorneys practicing in the Rio Grande Valley. Pennebaker Law filed separate lawsuits for each case, alleging the insurer improperly delayed, underpaid and, in some cases, denied valid insurance claims. Each lawsuit included allegations of bad faith insurance practices and violations of the Texas Insurance Code.

Pennebaker Law efficiently resolved this group of cases during a two-day mediation session. As a matter of practice, our firm routinely covers all up-front expenses associated with lawsuits we file. However, we resolved this group of cases without incurring the usual costs associated with depositions and/or trial, allowing our clients to recover more money. Although each case ultimately settled for confidential amounts, total recovery for the case-group was $2,950,000.

McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas —

An Hidalgo County Restauranteur turned to our firm after his insurer underpaid the hail claim. Prior to hiring our firm, the insurer paid only $92,000. We demanded appraisal under the policy. Although the insurer initially refused to cooperate with Appraisal, we forced the issue and obtained an Appraisal Award of $349,699.00. Ultimately, the total recovery was $441,000.00.

Laredo, Webb County, Texas —

Fire case where we assisted the retired policyholders on a fire loss claim for their retirement home. We guided the insured through appraisal process where we recovered the entire policy limits for all available coverages including the structure, personal property, and additional living expenses (nearly $300,000). The insurer had only paid 21k before our firm’s involvement in the case. After a successful Appraisal, we reached a substantial confidential settlement that included penalties and punitive damages above and beyond the insurance company’s policy limits. Total recovery approximately 24 times the insurance company’s original payment on the claim.

McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas  —

Assisted client to achieve a $950,000 Appraisal award against regional insurance company for significant underpayment of McAllen hail claim. The award was approximately 10 times the insurance company’s original payment on the claim before the policyholder hired our firm. The case is currently in litigation where we are demanding punitive damages and penalties due to the insurance company’s drastic underpayment of our client’s original claim.

San Angelo, Tom Green County, Texas —

Assisted San Angelo client achieve a $172,000 insurance appraisal award for structural damage to his commercial property caused by a vehicular impact. Prior to our involvement, the insurance company refused to pay the policyholder any more than $16,000. The appraisal award was approximately 10 times the insurance company’s original payment on the claim before the policyholder hired our firm.

McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas —

A very well-known national insurer paid an elderly, disabled insured only $13,000 for severe hail damage to her retirement home in McAllen, Texas. Also, the insurance company improperly terminated her additional living expenses before she was able to make the necessary repairs. After the policyholder hired our firm, we filed a lawsuit and recovered $230,000 on behalf of the client. Total recovery approximately 20 times the insurance company’s original payment on the claim.

San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas —

After conducting a delayed, and outcome-oriented investigation, a very well-known national insurance company accused its insureds of arson, and ultimately denied the policyholders’ fire claim. After hiring our firm, we discovered the severity of the insurance company’s outcome oriented investigation. Therefore, despite the insurance company’s determination of arson, we filed a lawsuit and were able to recover approximately $400,000 on behalf of our clients.

San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas —

A young San Antonio couple purchased their first new home from a national home builder for $178,000 in 2006.

After moving into the home, they discovered significant construction defects to include problems with the post-tension foundation.  After unsuccessfully trying to deal with the builder on their own, the young couple hired our firm.

After litigating the case, the builder ultimately paid $176,000 in damages, and the couple kept the home as well.

Hidalgo County, MCallen, Texas —

The homeowner obtained a repair estimate from a local contractor in the amount of $53,000. The insurance company acknowledged extensive damage, but hid behind a technicality/exclusion in the insurance policy. Prior to hiring our firm, the insurance company would only pay $1,000, and denied the remainder of the homeowner’s claim on the basis that there were no wind-created openings in the structure through which rain entered to cause damage to the interior. The insurer said the damage was caused by wind-driven rain, and not covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. After filing a lawsuit in Hidalgo County, and after cross-examining the insurance adjuster and agent, revealing questionable claims handling practices, the insurance company ultimately paid the homeowner $150,000 to resolve the claim.

San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas —

A young San Antonio family had a plumbing leak that caused extensive damage of approximately $12,000. Agent advised policy he sold them did not provide any coverage whatsoever for plumbing leaks and related damage and therefore, claim was denied. A recovery was made within 60 days of hiring the Pennebaker Law Firm on a theory that the insurance agent failed to obtain the insurance coverage that had been requested by the homeowner. The recovery was over twice the amount of damage incurred. Additionally we filed suit against the general contractor and architect for design/construction defects.

San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas —

A single San Antonio mom moved out of her modest home, and was in the process of slowly renovating when it was burned by an arsonist.

She had responsibly purchased an insurance policy providing dwelling coverage in the amount of $90,000. Arson was confirmed by the Bexar County Fire Marshall. The insurance company hired an attorney and investigated the homeowner for arson. After the insurer’s investigation conclusively established that she was not a suspect, the insurance company denied her claim on a technicality i.e. that the home had been vacant for more than 60 days. Prior to retaining our firm, the insurer refused to pay her any money on the claim. They offered her zero dollars. After we filed a lawsuit on behalf of the insured, the insurance company filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, attempting to get the case thrown out of court.

The insurance company ultimately paid the homeowner $185,000.00 to resolve the litigation.

$375,000 settlement in El Paso, Texas —

A well known national insurer essentially denied an elderly woman’s claim after her historic home sustained significant damages from a frozen pipe break in her heating system. The insurer denied the majority of her claim on the basis that she was either not occupying the home and/or that she failed to maintain the hearing system.

After we filed suit, we were able to show that the insurer denied the claim based on an inapplicable and invalid policy exclusion. Therefore, at mediation, the insurer agreed to pay $375,000 to settle the case with our client. The policy limits were only $220,000, so the settlement clearly included penalties and punitive damages due to the wrongful denial.

A San Antonio homeowner sustained structural damage to her home and foundation, caused by contractors operating heavy vehicles and machinery on her street.

Prior to retaining our firm, the insurance company denied her claim on the basis of insurance policy exclusion, excluding damages caused by natural settlement and foundation movement caused by seasonal moisture changes and drought. We retained an engineer to evaluate the cause and extent of structural damage.

After filing suit, the insurance company paid $48,000 to settle her claim for property damage. 

A small business owner in Cameron County made a claim for damage to her commercial property caused by Hurricane Dolly.

The insurance company acknowledged coverage, but disputed the amount of damages that would be covered by the policy. Prior to hiring our firm, the insurance company was only willing to pay $48,000. We were able to utilize the Appraisal provision of the insurance policy to obtain a prompt resolution of the claim without even filing suit.

After helping the insured hire the right experts to document her claim, the business owner received an appraisal award of $166,505.00.  After litigating the case, the client recovered an additional $170,000 for a total of $336,505.00.

A San Antonio couple purchased their first home together. Unfortunately they had a plumbing leak that caused damage to the foundation, as well as some cosmetic cracks throughout the home.

The insurance adjuster hired a biased engineer who said the foundation movement was normal settlement, and the insurance company denied the claim. After the homeowners hired our firm, we helped them hire the right experts to document their claim. After we filed suit and conducted discovery on the clients’ behalf, the insurance company paid more than the policy limits for foundation coverage to resolve the claim.