Hurricane Harvey – HB 1774 and the Insurance Claim Process

The vast majority of property damage claims are resolved without a lawsuit. Texans need to focus on their own safety as well as that of their communities and, once they are safe, it is important to understand the claim process to maximize recovery.

The Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) strives to make the insurance market more transparent, efficient, and responsive to all Texans. As part of this endeavor OPIC believes it is vital to provide information to Texans that reduces confusion in the insurance market during a crisis such as Hurricane Harvey. Much of the confusion relates to House Bill 1774 that was enacted during the recent legislative session. This confusion is primarily the result of the timing of Hurricane Harvey and the fact the new law becomes effective September 1, 2017.

While HB 1774 is important if you have a dispute with your insurance company that cannot be resolved without filing a lawsuit, the vast majority of homeowner and business-owner property damage claims are resolved without a lawsuit ever being filed. It is more important now for Texans to focus on their own health and safety as well as that of their communities. Once it is safe to do so, it is important to understand as much as possible about how the insurance claim process works in order to maximize recovery.

Therefore, OPIC’s primary focus is to provide consumers with information that may assist them in the various stages of the claim process, which includes potential disputes. However, it is necessary to provide some basic information regarding HB 1774.

HB 1774

Below are some key points relating to HB 1774:

  • It does not apply to claims or lawsuits with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). TWIA provides a large majority of the wind coverage for the 14 first tier coastal counties of Texas. The NFIP is the primary source of residential flood coverage in Texas.
  • Insurance companies will continue to be subject to the same claims-handling legal requirements and they will continue to be responsible for paying your claim promptly and fairly. You will continue to have the right to reject any settlement offer, including any unfair valuation, and the insurance company must still…

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