An insurance company is facing a lawsuit from an Iowa school district, which accuses the insurer of breach of contract for allegedly paying only a small portion of a claim.

Waterloo Community Schools is suing insurer Employers Mutual Casualty Company for at least $19 million over a claim for the rebuilding of the Lowell Elementary School, after its roof collapsed in February 2019 due to heavy snow buildup.

The lawsuit was filed last month in Polk County, local news channel KWWL reported.

The school district claims that the cost to repair the damaged roof was so high, that it chose to instead demolish the nearly 90-year-old school and rebuild the facility, which costs less than the repair work. It also claimed that the total cost to rebuild the school would be no less than $19 million, but Employers Mutual Casualty has only paid about $1.7 million.

In the lawsuit, the school district said that the collapse happened “because the hidden, internal layer of Lowell’s exterior walls was too weak to support the snow and ice that had accumulated on the roof during the storm.” The mortar inside the internal layer had deteriorated over time, and there was no outward indication of the deterioration, the court document added, and thus there was no reason for the school district to anticipate a roof collapse.

Employers Mutual Casualty acknowledged that it had inspected the building prior to the collapse, but it denied the allegation that the collapse itself could not have been anticipated.

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages after the district and Employers Mutual Casualty could not reach an insurance settlement.



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