As the very first steps for recovery begin, HB 1774, signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) becomes effective.
A Texas insurance law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott back in May, will become effective tomorrow. This, at a time when Hurricane Harvey victims are taking the very first steps toward understanding what they can do to recover.
Houston, the fourth most populous city in the United States, may have years of recovery ahead.
The Texas insurance law will be changing the way claims lawsuits are handled when they are related to the weather. This, at a time when the storm still hasn’t finished leaving the last of its historic rain levels on the southern and southeastern parts of Texas. The bill was originally created with the intention of offering insurance companies protection against frivolous lawsuits resulting from hailstorms.
However, this new Texan law is applicable when it comes to all weather-related property damage insurance claims. This includes everything from tornadoes and hurricanes to floods and wildfires.
Legal groups have cautioned homeowners that the Texas insurance law will make it tougher to file lawsuits.
Consumer advocacy groups have also warned homeowners that the new law will measurably decrease their ability to take their insurance companies to court over refused or low-balled claims. The ability to sue an insurance company makes it possible for homeowners to be able to hold the companies accountable for payments to which they are entitled. This includes rejected legitimate claims, unreasonably low payments on claims or unjustified storm settlement delays.
Lawsuits have made it possible to stop insurers from delaying weather related claims settlements for months or even years. Hailstorms had been causing some policyholders to abuse this system, tying up courts with cases and generating massive legal expenses. The purpose of the new insurance law was to stop this type of behavior from occurring. However, as it applies to all forms of weather-related insurance claims, it will reduce Hurricane Harvey victims’ ability to stand up against their insurers.
Legal and consumer advocates groups are urging homeowners to file their initial claims today, if possible, before the Texas insurance law goes into effect.