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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Insurer Brings Bad News to Goodnews

CHICAGO (CN) - An insurer claims in court that after a hailstorm, Goodnews Home Improvement offered free inspections to homeowners, then intentionally damaged homes to mimic hail damage and collect insurance money for the repair work.

Country Mutual Casualty Insurance sued Goodnews Home Improvement, its president Sung Chun "James" Moon, and three employees, in Cook County Court.

"In 2008, a hailstorm occurred in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois," the complaint states. "After the storm took place, employees of Goodnews canvassed neighborhoods in the affected areas, offering homeowners free inspections of their homes' roof and siding to determine if they had sustained hail damage.

"After the free inspection, Goodnews's employees would advise homeowners that their homes had, in fact, sustained hail damage, and that the homeowner should submit a claim for the damage to his or her homeowner's insurer.

"Upon information and belief, if any of these homes had not, in fact, sustained significant hail damage, Goodnews's employees would intentionally cause damage to the homes' roof and/or siding in order to mimic hail damage, either at the time of, or shortly after, the free inspection.

"After the free inspection, Goodnews would solicit the homeowners to use Goodnews for the repair work, and would offer to contact the insurer on the homeowner's behalf to begin the claims process."

The insurer adds: "(T)he purpose of these activities was to provide Goodnews with a significant volume of roofing and siding jobs for which insurance payments would be readily available."

Country Mutual cites five homeowners it insured, who hired Goodnews to do hail damage repairs. At each home, a Country Mutual representative and an independent inspector found that "the roof, siding and gutter damage was not caused by hail, but appeared to be man-made," according to the complaint.

Country Mutual claims it spent more than $60,000 to fix damage caused by Goodnews.

It seeks treble damages for the claims it paid, and double damages for the money that Goodnews sought but failed to obtain. It alleges insurance fraud, conspiracy, and violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.

Country Mutual is represented by Mark Sickles, with Sudekum, Cassidy & Shulruff.

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