Back in October of 2010, I had the privilege of attending the 15th Annual Insurance Law Institute in Austin, Texas. Over the course of the program, I listened to varying opinions on both sides of the insurance debate. Attorney James K. LaRoe, of Dallas, Texas, compiled a list of the top commercial hurricane damage claim disputes from a Texas perspective. Here, I present to you the top five commercial and hurricane Ike damage claims as presented by Mr. LaRoe.
Chances are when you take a look at the photo below, you will remember seeing this imagine after Hurricane Ike. Texas Bolivar Peninsula residents, Warren and Pam Adams, evacuated for Hurricane Ike, and returned to their home the only one standing amid massive devastation. Various news reports featured their property and the Adams residence came to be known as the “Last House Standing.”
Continue Reading Resolution for Policyholders in Texas after Ike
Brenda Cannon Henley has written a delightful book, Winds Over Bolivar, cataloguing the individual and community struggles of those from the Bolivar Peninsula following Hurricane Ike. Ms. Henley asked me to write an introduction to her work:
Texas Judge Susan Criss signed an Order this morning approving the settlement of the slabbed cases from Hurricane Ike. She made the following findings:
4. The Court finds that the Settlement was negotiated at arm’s length by Plaintiffs’ counsel and TWIA’s counsel. The Settlement is reasonable in light of the uncertainty as to whether the Class Members could prevail on their causes of action against TWIA, the risks and cost of litigation, and the value of claims foregone. The terms and conditions of Settlement are no less favorable to the Class Members than comparable arms-length terms and conditions that would have been agreed to by unrelated parties under similar circumstances.
Dan Luby, of the Florida Insurance News, does a fantastic job tracking down timely articles involving insurance. He linked Taylor Heads to Supreme Court to Get TWIA Documents, which involves a Texas legislator trying to obtain confidential resolutions and settlement information from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).
Since 2004, the majority of our law firm’s large insurance battles have focused on hurricane loss insurance disputes. It is not surprising that we are getting phone calls from people asking whether our firm will open offices somewhere between North Carolina and Boston as Hurricane Earl is projected to hit that area. I was surprised by a recent newspaper article that indicated our firm “specializes” in sinkhole losses.
Continue Reading Sinkholes Remain in the News While Eyes are on Hurricane Earl
The Statute of Limitations is defined as the time period within which you must file a lawsuit. Unsurprisingly, there appears to be some confusion over when the statute of limitations runs out against the victims of Hurricane Ike, and public adjusters are not the only ones confused – many lawyers are unsure as well. There is one thing that lawyers are sure about, though: it’s better to be safe rather than sorry!
The Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula slab cases are settling. There was an agreement between the Texas attorneys that nothing would come out in the press until the clients signed the agreements. Since even the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) participated with a press release, I assume that the gentlemen’s confidentiality agreement to wait on telling everybody publicly that a settlement has been reached, even before clients have signed the releases, no longer applies. The vast majority of my clients have only received letters from our firm, and I am awaiting final figures from TWIA so that we can consummate the deal. I hope everybody is not optimistically jumping the gun.
The oil spill attorneys advertising for a mass of clients and recent advertisements in Texas regarding Hurricane Ike claims, seem to indicate that all my colleagues always win, and win big. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that if you are going to trial or push for what should fully be paid, at least one party to the litigation will lose and, sometimes, lose after a lot of money is offered to settle. Everybody loves to talk about their wins. Losses happen, and I am reminded of that bitterness and horrible feeling of injustice every now and then.
The Texas hurricane insurance coverage disputes caused by Hurricane Dolly and Hurricane Ike are fully engaged. Texas’ two year statutes of limitation are approaching. New law suits are being filed, pending lawsuits are being set for trial, settlement conferences are causing great frustration, and the discovery battles between insurance counsel and policyholder counsel are considerable and contentious. Sadly, this is a pretty normal state of affairs on a two year anniversary following a major catastrophe.