Houston-based insurer loses BBB accreditation after complaints

A Houston woman tells us she's fed up with an insurance company that only offered her a few hundred dollars to repair her storm-damaged home not once, but twice. And she's not the only one to file complaints.  

American Risk Insurance, based in Houston, was just stripped of its Better Business Bureau Accreditation this year after complaints from customers.


"I feel slighted. I feel terrible because this is my home. I have five children, a husband, we live here," said homeowner Kelly Brown-DeBose.

Brown-DeBose says she filed a claim with her insurer, American Risk Insurance, for roof damage from a storm in 2015. She says she received only $250.

"I was like, you know what, I don’t feel like fighting with you guys. I took the money. I had someone come. I paid out of pocket," she said.

She says she couldn't afford to replace the roof, but paid a roofer $1,150 to repair it.  

Then in 2021, she says Tropical Storm Nicholas damaged the fence and roof, leaving water damage inside her home. She says ARI offered her $185.

"I feel really terrible that they’re treating me so poorly and I’m a paying customer," said Brown-DeBose.

Brown-DeBose says she filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB has posted an alert on its website that it revoked American Risk Insurance's Accreditation in July of 2021 due to failure to maintain a positive track record, address disputes, and approach all business dealings with integrity and good faith.


We contacted American Risk Insurance. The company sent us a written statement saying that an independent adjuster recommended Brown-DeBose replace the roof and repair a window in 2015. It says it estimated the Replacement Cost Value at $6,895, minus Depreciation of $1,962 and her deductible $4,681, and paid her a net claim of $250. The company states Brown-DeBose could have received recoverable depreciation by showing the roof had been replaced.

Regarding her 2021 claim, ARI writes that an independent adjuster noted the roof had not been replaced and estimated her fence repair at $545, which is below her deductible.  

ARI says all of this was done in accordance with Texas law and Brown-DeBose's policy. ARI did not respond to our questions about the BBB's alert.


Attorney Eric Dick with Dick Lawfirm tells us an insurer can deduct depreciation, depending on the type of policy, because a roof ages over time, but will often reimburse the depreciation once the roof is repaired.  

But he says whether an insurer can deny a claim because a roof wasn't replaced may be up to a court.

"If they knew it was damaged, why did they continue to collect the premium on it?" asks Dick.


He recommends homeowners in insurance disputes consult an attorney.

"If you prove the policy was underpaid, you are entitled to attorney fees and interest under 542 of the insurance code, so it only behooves you to go down that path," said Dick.  

When buying homeowners insurance, Dick recommends buying HO3 policies with Replacement Cost Value (RCV), which pays to replace something at current prices, rather than Actual Cost Value (ACV), which pays replacement cost minus depreciation. 

Homeowners can compare homeowners insurance polices through the Texas Department of Insurance website.