$39M Settlement Reached in USAA Auto Insurance Class Action Lawsuit

This is a settlement for the Bad Faith Insurance lawsuit.



Santa Clara, CA: A $39 million settlement has been agreed between class members and The United Services Automobile Association in a bad faith insurance lawsuit alleging the insurer breached the terms of auto insurance policies by failing to fully pay members for sales tax in the purchase of a comparable vehicle after their vehicles were written off in an accident.

According to the terms of the settlement class members will receive 100 percent of the value of their claims plus eight percent for claims of prejudgment interest. The claims are estimated to total $34 million, according to court documents. The five lead plaintiffs will receive a total of $46,000 in incentive payments.

The suit was filed in 2013, by Chantal Bastian, who was a policy holder with Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Co. She brought the suit against Garrison and three other USAA-affiliated auto insurance companies over their sales-tax compensation and later agreed to add four named plaintiffs who were insured by the other companies.

The complaint alleged Bastian reported to Garrison that a tree fell on her covered vehicle. She subsequently received a letter from the insurer confirming that the vehicles was determined to be a total write off and broke down the payments the insurer would provide, minus the deductible, including the total vehicle cost, the title fee and a license plate fee. However, the insurer used that money to pay off her car loan and gave her the remainder.

Allegedly, Garrison sent a market valuation report with the letter to that detailed how it reached its financial decision, which included a calculation for the sales tax on a comparable vehicle. However, Bastian purchased a cheaper replacement car and received tax compensation based on its value, according to court documents.

The case is Bastian et al. v. United Services Automobile Association et al., case number 3:13-cv-1454, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division.

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