ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis-based furniture manufacturer is suing its insurance provider for allegedly failing to cover the costs of a storm that damaged its facility in 2021.
Goebel Furniture, a high-end domestic furniture maker, is taking Cincinnati Insurance Co. to court for breach of contract, alleging the company would only pay 10% of its $1 million policy.
In March 2021, according to court documents, Goebel says a “catastrophic” storm struck the St. Louis metropolitan area, damaging large portions of the roof of the company’s 15,000-square-foot facility. In the following weeks, “significant” amounts of rainwater began to leak through the roof, according to documents. Despite taking all measures it could to prevent damage within the plant, Goebel says the water critically damaged machinery and equipment.
Goebel says Cincinnati Insurance was immediately contacted about the damage, and a contingency contract with a construction company was signed to repair the damage. Payment to the construction company would be paid by Cincinnati, Goebel said.
An insurance inspector soon came to the plant and allegedly took no photographs or measurements, Goebel said. After the inspection, the agent said Cincinnati would likely only pay up to $100,000 in damages, an amount “woefully insufficient” to conduct necessary repairs.
Damages will have to be paid for by Goebel in the meantime, stunting its growth.
“As a direct and proximate result of the aforementioned roofing and water damage, and Cincinnati’s subsequent refusal to pay the full monetary value for the repairs and damages to, Plaintiffs will be caused to expend sums of money for reasonable and necessary repairs and remedial actions to their property in the future, for which they will become indebted,” the suit reads.
Goebel is seeking payment to repair the damages and $25,000 in compensatory damages.
“It’s been quite the 2.5+ years of pivoting to stay operational as we are working with a heavily compromised infrastructure,” President Martin Goebel told Furniture Today. “We’ve taken many measures to deal with it, but the protracted process is paralyzing our business, much less growth.”
Goebel says diminished manufacturing capacity is hurting its big new launch – the Kindred Heirloom line – a collection representing the company’s foray into the consumer market. Goebel is primarily a manufacturer of high-end hospitality furniture and private residential commissions.
“Three months ago, we launched our mass market sister brand Kindred Heirloom Collection to incredible positive feedback but have been forced to put that on an indefinite hold,” he said. “The line was supposed to go live on Perigold.com (Wayfair companies) as of July. Unfortunately, this was not possible due to diminished manufacturing capacity.”
Furniture Today reached out to Cincinnati Insurance Co. for comment and was told the company does not comment on pending litigation.