Colo. wildfire victims sue insurance companies

A group of nearly 20 Colorado fire survivors are suing more than 100 national insurance companies, corporations and nonprofits, alleging they conspired to defraud those who lost property to the High Park Fire and other wildfires.Thirteen Larimer County residents are named as plaintiffs in Snyder vs. Acord, filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado on May 20 by Dale and Mariyln Synder.A handful of Colorado businesses, including Colorado Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. and Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, are listed as defendants in the complaint.The group is seeking unspecified damages for a list of 25 allegations that range from companies colluding to keep insurance claim payments low to creating a purposefully combative and complicate culture to dissuade policy holders from pursuing claims.According to the complaint, the lawsuit suit alleges that the companies were involved in a “complex and intricate conspiracy to use a legitimate enterprise” to defraud victims of recent natural disasters, including the 2012 High Park Fire.In their 311-page complaint, the group claims the defendants violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which controls organized crime in the United States and was originally used to prosecute the mafia in the 1970s.On Tuesday, summonses were issued to all 108 defendants named in the lawsuit. According to online court records, none of the defendants had filed a response to the lawsuit through Wednesday.