Conroe and Austin, August 29 – Overzealous plaintiff’s attorneys have greatly harmed the residents of Montgomery County and southeast Texas by forcing enactment of a tort reform law that will make insurance claims far more difficult to pursue beginning on September 1, 2017, when the “Hailstorm Bill” goes into legal effect. As a result, victims of Tropical Storm Harvey should try to file their insurance claims no later than by Thursday, August 31, 2017.
For decades, insurance companies in Texas that unlawfully delayed payment of “forces of nature” insurance claims suffered an 18% penalty for their slow handling of the claims. During the 85th Texas Legislature, the Texas Senate, Texas House, and Governor addressed abuses by plaintiff’s attorneys who have filed an astronomical $340 million in hailstorm claims against insurance companies since 2012 and now seek the statutory penalties after they clogged claims departments and courts.
State Bar of Texas President-Elect Joe Longley, a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney, has warned homeowners who have suffered losses during Tropical Storm Harvey (or Hurricane Harvey) that they should send a written claim or email to their insurance companies with relevant details by August 31, 2017. In a press release, Longley noted that “telephone messages will not suffice to give [insurers[ written notice.”
There are other provisions in the “Hailstorm Bill” about which plaintiff’s attorneys have complained, including a provision which makes it more difficult to recover attorney fees against insurance companies.
If you have a claim from Tropical Storm Harvey, it’s probably advisable to file a written notice of the claim with your insurance company before midnight on Thursday, August 31, 2017, before the new law comes into effect.