Just as Hurricane Harvey departs the state, a new law in Texas, effective September 1, 2017, is going to make it more difficult for home and business owners to pursue claims against their insurance companies.
Prior Texas law imposed liability on an insurer who violated the Insurance Code for the amount of the claim, interest on the amount of the claim at an annual interest rate of 18 percent, and reasonable attorney fees. H.B. 1774 was recently enacted to address legal actions for claims arising from damage to or loss of property due to hailstorms, lightening, wind, hurricane, rainstorm and other natural events.
The bill creates additional procedural hurdles before a policy holder can file a lawsuit against the insurer. A written notice must be provided to the insurer at least 61 days before filing a lawsuit. The notice must include a statement of the acts giving rise to the claim, the specific amount alleged to be owed, and amount of reasonable and necessary attorney's fees already incurred by the policy holder. Once notice is received, the statute allows the insurers to send a written request to inspect, photograph, or evaluate the property.