Lloyd’s of London Reverses Course, Will Pay Kīlauea VictimsNovember 23, 2018, 1:38 PM HST (Updated May 15, 2019, 2:29 PM)
A week after losing a motion to dismiss in Hawaiian state court, Lloyd’s of London has abruptly reversed all denials of claims for victims of the Kīlauea Volcano eruption that began on May 3, 2018. Lloyd’s has agreed to pay policy limits plus 10% interest to policyholders who were previously denied coverage by Lloyd’s, a payout estimated to be in tens of millions.
After the volcano eruption, Lloyd’s denied some claims made by homeowners whose homes were destroyed and personal belongings lost due to fire or other cause.
“I couldn’t be happier for our clients and all of the people in Pāhoa who lost so much since the eruption of Kīlauea,” said Jeffrey Foster who represented several dozen victims of Lloyd’s alleged deceptive practices and bad faith claims. “We applaud Lloyd’s for taking a step in the right direction. However, it is important to note that the decision by Lloyd’s to set aside the unenforceable and illegal ‘lava exclusion’ cannot remedy the bad faith and deceptive practices claims against Lloyd’s of London and its agents. We look forward to continuing with lawsuits on behalf of our clients and others seeking to hold Lloyd’s legally accountable for the manner in which policyholders were treated after losing everything in one of the most catastrophic property losses here in Hawai‘i”
The abrupt change came on the heels of a court order last week denying a motion to dismiss brought by Lloyd’s of London in a lawsuit filed by Foster on behalf of 77-year-old Philip Haysmer and 70-year-old Lanell Haysmer, former homeowners from the Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna, Hawai’i. Lloyd’s sought the dismissal of Mr. and Mrs. Haysmer’s bad faith and consumer protection claims. Lloyd’s lost.
Despite paying nearly $3,000 a year for homeowner’s coverage with Lloyd’s, the Haysmers claim was denied by an unlicensed claims adjuster from an unlicensed claims adjusting company located 4,000 miles away in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Not only was the Haysmers’ claim denied, but according to the lawsuit, no one from Lloyd’s of London or anyone else ever even visit the Haysmer’s property to inspect the damage before issuing a denial.
“Even though Lloyd’s has reversed its decision to pay the rightful claims of policyholders, the violations of consumer protection laws and good faith conduct by Lloyd’s and its agents will be fully resolved in order to ensure that such a massive deception is never again perpetrated here in Hawai’i,” Foster advised.
Foster is hopeful that settlement talks will begin as early as next week, however, he said he will continue to actively litigate his clients’ claims until such time as Lloyd’s comes to the table and agrees to pay what is owed to the people of Puna.
Homeowners seeking further information can reach Foster Law Offices by visiting PunaClaims.com or calling (808) 348-7800.