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Wednesday, April 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Allstate Will Not Cover Non-Exploding Body

MIDLAND, Texas (CN) - A daughter who found her mother's decomposing body claims Allstate reneged on its promise that her mom's homeowner's policy would pay to clean up the house, telling her that the daughter's husband "represented that the deceased insured's body exploded and that is why Allstate originally indicated there was coverage."

Terri Carter and her husband Jerry found Terri's mother's decomposing body at the mother's home in Midland. They called police, who told them that a company called Aftermath specialized in cleaning up biohazards, including "the bodily fluids, microbes and stench from Ms. Manns' decomposing body."

Jerry Carter called Allstate's 1-800 number, as it was a Sunday and the local office was closed. After a series of calls, the Carters say Allstate told them that Terri's mother's homeowners policy would cover the cost of the cleanup.

"Allstate agent Shannon specifically told Mr. Carter 'yes' and gave him a claim number," according to the complaint in Midland County Court.

Aftermath, which is not a party to the complaint, charged $34,475 for the cleanup, which it completed on June 28.

On June 29, at a church brunch immediately after the mother's funeral, Allstate "contacted Mr. Carter and informed him that Allstate had now changed their mind and was not going to cover the Aftermath claim. The only explanation provided was that Ms. Manns did not name herself as a 'peril' in her homeowners policy," the complaint states.

The Carters say: "Allstate now, unbelievably, alleges that in the phone call with Allstate representative Shannon, Mr. Carter represented that the deceased insured's body exploded and that is why Allstate originally indicated there was coverage. At no time did Mr. Carter say such a thing and would not have said such a thing in front of his wife who had just found her mother's body. Allstate, of course, indicates that this conversation was not recorded. ...

"There is absolutely no reasonable basis for denying this claim and therefore, Allstate has not only breached the contract of insurance but has breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing owed to the insured. Further, the Carters detrimentally relied on Allstate's representatives."

The Carters want Allstate Texas Lloyds to pay the bill of $34,475.22, and punitive damages for bad faith, negligent misrepresentations, and deceptive insurance practices. They are represented by B. Blue Hyatt with Lynch, Chappell & Alsup, of Midland.

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