Sometimes it’s right there before your eyes. Then, poof, it’s gone. This was the experience of one insured, who brought a bad faith insurance denial claim against his insurer thinking that the facts were in his favor, only to discover they were not.
The 501 E .51st Street Case
The Water Main Break and AGI’s Report
The owner of a 10-unit apartment building built in 1963, 501 East 51st Street, Long Beach-10 LLC (just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it?), filed a bad faith action against its insurer Kookmin Best Insurance Co., Ltd., after it denied 501 East’s insurance tender following a water main break that caused the building’s foundation to subside.
The water main break occurred sometimes between December 31, 2015 and January 2, 2016 next to the southwest side of the building. 501 East tendered its insurance claim to Kookmin on March 8, 2016, and in April 2016, presented a report prepared by American Geotechnical, Inc. (“AGI”) concerning damage to the building. According to the report prepared by AGI, AGI conducted a “limited geotechnical investigation” to “evaluate site conditions relating to the reported building distress following a waterline breach near the south end of the building.” The scope of AGI’s investigation was limited to “observation, photo documentation of the site conditions, [and[ floor-level survey of the interior of the first level units.” AGI’s investigation did not involve any subsurface investigation or soil testing.