Matassa to sue insurance agent; taxpayers on hook for $100,000 deductible if successful

Matassa at his January 4, 2016 inauguration

Concerning reimbursement of President Kenny Matassa’s criminal legal fees it seems the prescriptive period (statute of limitations for every American not residing in Louisiana) expired before he filed a claim against Ascension’s Public Entity insurance provider.  Thus, Berkley Insurance is off the hook for the $235,000 paid to Matassa’s criminal defense lawyer.  So, with Councilman Aaron Lawler’s special expertise, the focus shifted to suit against Ascension’s insurance agent, Harry Robert Insurance.

Even if the suit succeeds (a big IF) taxpayers would be on the hook for a six-figure Retained Limit (akin to a deductible).  Included in the operative insurance policy is the clause; “We shall have no obligation to pay or indemnify an insured for any amount if an insured’s obligation to pay damages and claim expenses is within or equal to the retained limit.” (Emphasis in original).

Retained Limit- is a risk that the policyholder has agreed contractually to retain for itself. … Under this construction, a policy with a retained limit is analogous to “traditional” excess policies in which coverage begins only after a predetermined amount of underlying primary insurance has exhausted.

The retained limit in the operative policy is in the six-figures, payable by Ascension Parish, i.e. the taxpaying public.  And that would be in addition to taxpayer dollars going to pay the outside law firm now pursuing the claim.

Lawler spearheads effort to reimburse Matassa legal fees: $235,000

And it all started with Councilman Lawler whose January 25, apparently unsolicited, email to Council leadership posed a series of questions:

1. Do we have public official liability coverage? If so, what is the deductible and the limits?
2. Was our agent notified to place the public official liability carrier on notice? Who placed the agent on notice? How and when was the agent put on notice? How and when did the agent put the carrier on notice?
3. Who was the adjuster assigned to this claim?
4. If an insurance carrier is denying coverage, have we received a letter of declination? Please produce a copy of the letter. If a letter of declination was received why wasn’t the council notified of this? Who received the letter of declination?
5. If we have received a letter of declination, have we notified the agent’s errors and omissions carrier of a potential claim?

Does Aaron Lawler have it in for Ascension’s longtime insurance agent?  A few weeks after posing the questions above your writer received the following text from Lawler:

“TPA” is the acronym for “Third Party Administrator” which means the insurance agent.  If you’re wondering, as your writer did, why Lawler would be sending such a text…

he meant the text for someone else.

To recap, your tax dollars are going to hire Kenny Matassa’s lawyer…

Tim Hardy of Roedel Parsons

to pursue reimbursement of the fees paid to his other (criminal defense) lawyer…

Matassa and his attorney (file photo)

made possible by one of the two lawyers sitting on the Parish Council…

though we feel certain the other does not mind so much…

Councilman Travis Turner

so long as Travis Turner and Aaron Lawler get there way with Recreation.

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