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Is Texas at War with Hail Damage Insurance Claims?

AUSTIN, Texas, July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Hail damage insurance claims have become such a big deal in Texas that the department of insurance held a symposium titled "War on Hail"  Over 2 million hail damage claims were processed from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2012. During this period, the top five states generating hail damage claims were Texas (320,823); Missouri (138,857); Kansas (126,490); Colorado (118,118) and Oklahoma (114,168).

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Texas was the state with the most hailstorm events with 557, 741 and 795, respectively according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

So far, 2014 Texas Hail Storms have taken its toll on property owners...

- Abilene projected losses of $400 Million
- Insured loss estimates for Denton area started at $300M then rose to $500M within a month after the occurrence.
- More than 50,000 homes were damaged throughout Kileen, Temple, and Belton

Policyholders deserve and expect a fair and prompt settlement but many dealing with the insurance claim process feel like a "Wolfpack of One".  Ok, maybe you're a "Wolfpack of Two" if you have a really good contractor. That's not a bad start, but you still have to document your claim, the occurrence, meet with the insurance company's "Claim Gang", interpret your policy, correspond and negotiate a settlement with your insurance company.  Plus, there is a pretty good chance that your insurance company may presently be at war on hail claims unbeknownst to you.

Have you experienced the effectiveness of an insurance company's "Claim Gang" comprised of Agents, Adjusters, Examiners, Engineers, Building Consultants, Labs, Actuaries, Appraisers and Attorneys?  If so, you know that these insurance claim experts work very hard on a daily basis for the interests of their gigantic insurance company employers and take great measures to protect their bottom line.

Don't forget that your Policy is a contract and its language, endorsements, exclusions and provisions were written by a gigantic insurance company loaded with adjusters, actuaries, and attorneys in compliance with the Texas state insurance code. So, if you think you're really going to have a "like it never even happened" experience, you may need to suit up like the Seattle Seahawks on Super Bowl Sunday.

Truth: Unfortunately, not all insurance claims have happy endings like the commercials you see on TV. If your building has verifiable hail and/or wind damage, it's possible you have a valid insurance claim that you should consider filing with your insurance company. Hail and wind damage might not cause your roof to leak for years. If you're not sure, have your roof inspected for damage by a reputable roofer or public insurance adjuster.

Are You Damaged And Don't Even Know It? After a building has been impacted by hail, damage may not immediately be noticeable. Many property owners are simply unaware that they have damage, but over the course of time, heat and cold expand and contract roof membranes that can cause fractures after a hail storm. Ice and heavy rain on a roof with undetected hail fractured membranes can lead to interior leaks. If you are experiencing this scenario, don't wait to get professional insurance claim assistance.

Fiction: My contractor can negotiate my insurance claim on my behalf.

Fact: While there are many expert roofers and contractors who are very good at repairing or replacing roofs, handling insurance claims is a completely different animal. The issue of roofers handing insurance claims for policyholders has driven changes in the Texas Insurance Code Section 4101.251 with the passage of House Bill 1183, that went into effect September 2013 whereby the statute specifically states, "A roofing contractor may not act as an adjuster or advertise to adjust claims for any property for which the contractor is providing or may provide roofing services, regardless of whether the contractor holds a license under this chapter." Further, insurance companies know that they are prohibited from negotiating insurance claims with contractors.

Fiction: My insurance company will cancel my policy if I file a claim.

Fact: Most states prohibit insurance companies from canceling policies for filing claims arising from weather events. Check your state and your policy language.

Fiction: If I don't file my claim, my insurance company won't raise my rates.

Fact: After a disaster, insurance companies may raise every one's rates in a specific geographic area or "tier." By not filing your legitimate claim, your personal rate increase pays for everyone else's damage except yours. Read More>> Investigation - Homeowner's insurance rates on rise

Fiction: It's too late to file a claim.

Fact: There is no time limit to notify your insurer of a loss unless the policy specifies a time limit. However, a policyholder should certainly notify the carrier as soon as the damage from the loss is discovered. Prompt notice of loss is required by most policies, though what is "prompt" is usually a fact issue--meaning it is arguable on a case-by-case basis. Some policies now require that notice of a loss must be given within one year of the date of loss. However, in order to avoid its obligations to pay policy benefits based on a failure to give prompt notice, an insurer must prove it was somehow prejudiced by the "late" notice.[1] An example of prejudice would be a policyholder's late notice of roof damage which subsequently (not simultaneously) caused water damage inside the property. Arguably, the insurer would still be responsible for the roof, but may not be responsible for the interior damages because but for the policyholder's late notice, the interior damage would have been prevented.

Insurance companies have experts working for them, you should too. If you are dealing with an insurance claim that has stalled out, been delayed, denied or underpaid, time is of the essence for you to get help. A public adjuster is a state licensed insurance adjuster who solely represents the interest of the policyholder who can level the playing field in the insurance claim process.

- By Scott Friedson, Insurance Claim Recovery Support LLC and Shannon Loyd, The Loyd Law Firm PLLC

Scott Friedson, owner of Insurance Claim Recovery Support LLC, is a Texas Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster. Shannon Loyd, owner of The Loyd Law Firm PLLC, is Board Certified in Consumer and Commercial Law. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firms, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.

[1] PAJ, Inc. v. Hanover Ins. Co., 243 S.W.3d 630 (Tex. 2008); Hernandez v. Gulf Group Lloyds, 875 S.W.2d 691, 692-94 (Tex.1994).

Media Contact:
Insurance Claim Recovery Support LLC
855-203-2226
scott@insuranceclaimrecoverysupport.com

 

 Photos:
http://www.prlog.org/12353462

 

SOURCE Insurance Claim Recovery Support; Loyd Law Firm

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