Why You Might Want To File Your Harvey Insurance Claims Before Friday

WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO FILE YOUR HARVEY INSURANCE CLAIMS BEFORE FRIDAY Suffered property damage from Hurricane Harvey and have access to a smartphone, computer, pen and paper, or your insurance agent? Forget about waiting for waters to recede before filing any insurance claim. You’ll want to do it now — or at least before Friday. What’s the rush? The new Texas law formerly known as House Bill 1774, passed by the Texas Legislature this session and signed by Governor Abbott in May, goes into effect on September 1. The “hailstorm lawsuit reform” measure reduces property owners’ leverage with insurance companies in weather-related claims — by making it more difficult for homeowners to sue agents successfully, increasing the obstacles to filing and carrying through with lawsuits over insurance coverage, and limiting the penalties insurance companies could face if they lose a lawsuit against you. To prevent your coverage from falling under these stipulations, notify your insurance provider of your claims before the law goes into effect, and document your correspondence. [Community Impact; Texas Tribune; Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog] Photo: Randy Poole  

9 Comment

  • Actually, it doesn’t limit the homeowners ability to sue. What it does limit is the amount lawyers can profit from a suit. This explains why so many lawyers are pushing to have people file prior to Sept 1.

  • Way to ramp up our stress levels. This goddam storm may still be causing flooding by Sept 1. I just called USAA and asked if I needed to drive back to Houston tonight so I don’t miss a reporting deadline. They told me to calm down and stay safe.

  • Careful. This does not apply to the national flood insurance plan. NFIP regulations preempt state law remedies. Consult an attorney before you rush through your NFIP proof of claim if you have concerns about the new state law.

  • @ kjb434: If the circumstances are such that lawyers will differentiate between one class of client and another and price their services (or provide a level of service) in accordance with the expected profits thereof, and if the labor market for qualified lawyers is inelastic, then you may still significantly benefit from having your claims filed before the deadline.
    Please note that I am not an attorney and do not work for attorneys in any capacity. I am merely cynical. Very very cynical.

  • Disregard this nonsense. This hyped story, courtesy of the trial lawyers, is an excellent example of what sleaze balls they are.

  • Apparently this post encouraging people to file before 9/1 may be fake news.

    See link below for a more nuanced explanation. Note this is not by me but quoted from neighbor:


    About the Sept 1st Insurance Law
    From my insurance company

    We knew this was going to start circulating – it’s a load of BS. See the actual information below and please forward to everyone that you know. The bill absolutely does not apply to flood which is government and federal – not private industry. And it doesn’t not change anything about the claims process to begin with:

    There has been a huge amount of misinformation circulating on social media about the impact of HB 1774 (the hailstorm bill) as it relates to the catastrophic events we are experiencing due to Hurricane Harvey. Our friends at TSLA put out a good explanation of accurate information to help spread the right facts, so we will copy their explanation here. You can communicate this to your insureds to reassure them in these trying times:

    HB 1774 does not change the insurance claims process. A person making a claim with their insurance company after September 1, 2017 will go through the same process as a person making a claim before September 1, 2017.

    The new law applies only to a lawsuitthat is filed against an insurance company by a policyholder when the policyholder’s insurance claim is not timely paid or is underpaid, or when the insurance company acts in bad faith in dealing with the policyholder’s claim.

    Lawsuits are the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of Texans will go through the regular insurance claims process without needing to file a lawsuit.

    Texans continue to have the strongest consumer protections in the nation against insurance companies. This includes the full recovery of amounts owed under an insurance policy, plus penalty interest, court costs, and attorney fees. Additionally, if the insurance company acts fraudulently or in bad faith, Texans may recover triple the amount of their actual damages, which is unchanged by the new statute.

    The primary purpose of the new statute is to require written notice of a dispute before a lawsuit is filed. If a lawsuit is filed, it would happen months or years after the initial claim was made with the insurance company. Nothing in the new law passed by the Legislature earlier this year requires that the initial insurance claim be made in writing or by a specific date.

    This requirement for a written pre-suit notice (not pre-claim notice) to the insurance company ensures the company is aware of its policyholder’s complaint and has had an opportunity to adequately address that complaint before being sued.
    Furthermore, the new law will not apply to most claims or lawsuits arising from Harvey, because most of the policyholders’ claims will be for damage caused by flooding. These claims will be made under the federal flood insurance program and governed by federal law.

    Similarly, the new law will not apply to lawsuits pursued against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), which is subject to an entirely different statute governing post-disaster lawsuits. TWIA provides insurance for many people affected by Harvey.

    The new law is designed to do two important things:

    Discourage the feeding frenzy by lawyers and contractors following natural events occurring in Texas over the past several years. These unscrupulous actors have taken advantage of thousands of hard-working Texans over the past several years.
    Encourage out-of-state insurance adjusters to come work in Texas following a massive disaster like Harvey. In the following days and weeks, it will be critically important for out-of-state adjusters to work in Texas to ensure that insurance claims are evaluated and paid in a timely manner.
    In sum, the new law does not affect the claims process. Instead, it affects only the lawsuits that sometimes follow the claims process. Furthermore, it does not create a new deadline for action by policyholders.

  • Here’s what the Texas Tribune says about it:
    Here’s what Texas Monthly says about it:
    “Texas Trial Lawyers Association spokesman Alex Winslow said the notice of a claim can be filed directly on an insurance company’s web site, by fax or certified mail, but it is best done in writing and with the policy holder retaining a copy of the filing. Winslow said the claim does not need to say anything more than that the policy holder suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey and intends to file a claim. The notice should contain the name and contact information of the policy holder and, if possible, the insurance policy number.”
    ^ Whether you ultimately benefit from it or not, there doesn’t seem to be any downside whatsoever to doing this. Also, I think that the declaration that this is fake news might itself be at least partly fake news.

  • I wouldn’t believe anything the insurance industry says. I worked on a Brio EPA Superfund Toxic Dump site case years ago. The cancer stricken victims were jacked around by the insurance industry .The industry only cares about $$$$$. And the republithugs are their whores !!! Irony: the Texas legislator , a republican who pushed this “reform” bill lives in Friendswood. !!

  • @HappyGoLucky So you choose to believe the trial lawyer lobby instead…. Those are some trustworthy folks.