The Texas “Hailstorm Bill” Now In Effect: What Property Owners MUST Know about This New Law
Since Sept. 1st, a new Hailstorm Bill1 has taken effect in Texas. This law impacts first-party property insurance claims related to the “forces of nature,” including claims associated with damage caused by hail storms, windstorms, floods, hurricanes, tornados and other natural disasters.
Creating a new section of the Texas Insurance Code (Section 542A), the Texas Hailstorm Bill presents new hurdles for property owners filing storm damage claims while providing some distinct benefits to large, profit-driven insurance companies.
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Details of the New Texas Hailstorm Bill: 3 Key Takeaways
While the new Texas Hailstorm Bill covers a number of issues, the main takeaways that property owners should be aware of are:
- The requirement to provide a written pre-suit notice to the insurer – This notice must be submitted to the insurer at least 61 days before a policyholder intends to file a lawsuit. Additionally, the new law dictates that:
- The pre-suit notice must include specific details regarding the damages being sought and the lawyers’ fees amassed (as of the date of the letter).
- The insurer has the right to inspect the property prior to the lawsuit moving forward.
- The property owner will be barred from collecting attorneys’ fees if (s)he fails to comply with the pre-suit notice requirement.
- If the property owner’s claim is successful, the attorneys’ fees will vary according to the nature of the recovery. In particular, a lawyer will only be able to recover 100 percent of his or her fees if the property owner recovers at least 80 percent of the pre-suit damages (as specified in the pre-suit notice). Attorneys’ fees will not be recoverable if the property owner recovers no more than 20 percent of the pre-suit damages demand.
- The reduction of the “prompt payment penalty” – When insurers delay, underpay or wrongfully deny valid storm damage claims, the recoverable interest for these claims is now only 10 percent – as opposed to the 18 percent per annum penalty that was available prior to the new Hailstorm Bill.
- The provision allowing insurers to assume liability of any “agent” – Effectively, insurers who receive a pre-suit notice will have the option to assume liability for acts or omissions associated with any “employee, agent, representative or adjuster who performs any act on behalf of the insurer.” Once the insurer assumes liability, the claim against the agent is forever dismissed from state court. This essentially allows an insurance company to move the lawsuit to federal court based on diversity, meaning the insurer can enter a new forum at will.
The bottom line is that the new Texas Hailstorm Bill offers some major potential benefits to insurance companies at the expense of policyholders. Consequently, it is more important than ever to work with an experienced attorney at the Amaro Law Firm who understands the impacts of the new Bill and Texas Insurance Code.
Get Essentials Answers about Your Claim: Contact a Hail Damage Claim Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
A hail damage claim lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you successfully navigate the claims and recovery process.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE consultation and essential advice regarding your potential claim.
At Amaro Law Firm, we are proud to represent everyday citizens who face an uphill battle against insurance companies. With previous experience in insurance defense, we know exactly how the insurance business works and how to effectively combat the strategies insurers use to delay, underpay or deny valid claims. Tenacious and strategic, we are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and interests in the pursuit of compensation and justice.
In commercial and residential hail damage claims, we represent property owners, business owners, contractors, public adjusters and others. Our history of unparalleled representation and success in hail damage claims has earned us exceptional testimonials from former clients, as well as 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.
1: Complete text of the new Texas Hailstorm Bill
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