Clean Slate for Aiken Insurance

February 4, 2003

After a highly publicized series of events surrounding property insurance coverage for Hood County, LaVera Aiken and Lanny Aiken Insurance Agency Inc. in Granbury, Texas, were completely exonerated of all allegations, which were expunged from court records.

According to the Aikens, in 2000 their insurance agency and individual agent LaVera Aiken were indicted on charges of misapplication of a premium for property insurance. LaVera Aiken was the broker who had handled the County’s property insurance for many years. When a County official called an insurance company regarding hail damage to the Courthouse, a company spokesman wrongly denied coverage existed, leading the official to assume the buildings were not covered.

“In order to obtain broader coverage,” LaVera Aiken said, “we recommended that the County switch coverage from their ‘old’ insurance company which had covered them for years to another company at renewal time. Although the ‘new’ company had received the application, inspected the buildings and notified us they had placed the coverage into effect, we had not received the actual policy. Meanwhile, however, the renewal coverage with the ‘old’ company was never canceled so the County did, in fact, have coverage with both companies.” Eventually, these two companies paid the hail damage claim of over $348,000, plus much more. The Aikens did not pay any part of the claim.

After an investigation conducted by the Hood County district attorney and the Texas Department of Insurance, both discovered that coverage in fact existed and that Ms. Aiken was not guilty of any wrongdoing. “I was told by the TDI that they did not plan to bring disciplinary action against either Ms. Aiken or the insurance agency,” Robert Kuhn commented. Kuhn, of Kuhn Doyle & Kuhn PC, Austin, represents the Aiken Insurance Agency. “Actually, the TDI said there was nothing to dismiss since no official complaint was ever filed. Hood County determined no probable cause for the indictment ever existed, so the record was completely expunged.”

“As unpleasant as this has been,” Ms. Aiken noted, “I am glad that our record has been cleared. Having the charges dismissed and the indictment expunged from our records is far better than a ‘not guilty’ verdict where some doubt might remain.”

Kuhn agrees. “An expungement is as close to a formal apology as legally possible.”

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