Aaron Jones Sues Insurance Company Over Failure To Pay House Fire Claim

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Apr. 20, 2009 12:00 am  

House Fire

Aaron Jones recently sued his insurance carrier in a dispute over coverage in the arson at his Chenal Circle home.

His grievance revolves around Travelers Insurance Co. not paying a $1.1 million claim for personal property losses in association with the fire.

Travelers denied the claim, alleging that Jones probably started the fire.

You might recall that Jones said hoodlums broke in and torched the place while his wife and kids were out of town in May 2008.

It’s unclear from the complaint whether Jones made a claim on fire damage to the house and, if so, whether Travelers paid anything.

But the outstanding mortgages on the property were released, indicating full payment of the property’s debt, before Jones sold the fire-damaged home for $300,000 earlier this year.

Jones, an attorney and real estate developer, told Travelers he was at his 5,757-SF mansion on the evening of May 30, 2008. Then, in the wee hours, intruders broke in, “bound him with duct tape on his wrist and ankles, left laying [sic] on his bed and set his house afire,” Little Rock lawyer Kevin O’Dwyer said in the lawsuit filed on Jones’ behalf. “Mr. Jones escaped to a neighbor’s residence and called authorities.”

Jones had bought the place for $1.6 million in 2005. At the time of the fire, the home was on the market with an asking price that had been reduced from $2.2 million to $1.85 million

Jones’ wife and children were safe because they were staying at the family’s vacation home in Florida.

Jones said he filled out all the insurance forms to receive $1.14 million for his loss, but Travelers denied the claim on March 27. (Jones had listed the loss and damage at $2.8 million in earlier filings with Travelers.)

Travelers said Jones “had the opportunity to set the fire,” the lawsuit said. Travelers also found that Jones “more likely than not … set the fire and staged the home invasion.”

Jones, however, disagreed and said Travelers unreasonably denied coverage and its reasons for denial are not “good-faith based.”

Jones is suing for breach of contract and bad faith for not paying the claim. He is seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

A spokesman for Travelers said the company doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.

No arrests have been made in the case.

 

 

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