The historic Texas winter storm of 2021 has led to extreme property damage to homes and businesses across the state. As a result, many insurance claims are being filed by home and business owners to receive compensation for their damages. However, some of these claims are being unfairly denied, and Texas residents are having difficulty getting their homes and businesses repaired. There are certain things property owners should be aware of about home damage claims, especially as it relates to new relevant legislation in the state.
How New Legislation Impacts Property Owners
In 2017, HB 1774 legislation was enacted, with support from the insurance industry and other special interests. Unfortunately, the legislation makes the process of resolving weather-related property insurance claims difficult for property owners, including claims from the recent severe winter storm in Texas. It reduces penalties on insurers who do not meet their obligation to handle claims properly and adds significant administrative burdens on property owners. The bill also created Chapter 542A, Texas Insurance Code, which outlines specific requirements for property owners and attorneys before a suit can be filed.
More Information on Chapter 542A
All weather-related first-party claims brought against an insurer or agent are subject to the rules and restrictions in Chapter 542A, including claims from damage to or loss of property caused by earthquakes, wildfires, floods, tornados, lightning, hurricanes, hail, wind, snowstorms, or rainstorms. It also applies to any weather-related claim alleging breach of contract, negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, breach of common law duty, or an action brought under Chapter 541 or 542 of Texas Insurance Code, or Chapter 17 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code. Chapter 542A imposes barriers to property owners filing an action that must be overcome, including a required 60-day written notice and inspection. This notice must include a statement of the facts for the cause of the claim, the amount of reasonable and necessary attorney’s fees incurred by the person filing the claim, and the specific amount of money to be owed by the insurer on the claim for the damage to or loss of covered property.
If property owners incorrectly estimate their damages to their property, they may not be able to fully recover their loss. Chapter 542A also requires specific responsibilities for the attorneys filing the required notice on behalf of a property owner.
Our Lawyers Can Help You Recover Your Losses
If you are a property owner in Texas who has been impacted by the recent winter snowstorm, you should ensure your damage insurance claim is properly completed for your best chance at recovery compensation under this new legislation. Contact one of our skilled insurance attorneys today at DC Law to help navigate you through this difficult process.