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Emily Marlow handles litigation of disaster claims of all varieties on behalf of damaged individuals and businesses for Merlin Law Group, P.A.
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This year I’ve been privileged with the opportunity to attend the 2019 National Flood Conference in Washington D.C. The National Flood Conference is a three-day annual event for flood insurance industry professionals, and various other professionals whose industries overlap in some way with flood insurance (think mortgage lenders, insurance agents, mold remediators, attorneys, etc.). Over the course of the next few days I will provide day-by-day recaps of my experience at the National Flood Conference with my thoughts, opinions, and interesting things I’ve learned.
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If your home was burglarized, would you sit back and do nothing? No. You would likely call the police or law enforcement to report the burglary, and hope they find your stolen property. If the police arrested the person who stole your property, would you let that person off without punishment, accountability, and repayment for your stolen property? Hopefully not – you would hold them accountable because they violated the law, and took something that belonged to you – they deprived you of your property that you worked hard to earn and purchase.

So why wouldn’t you hold the insurance company, adjusters, or other insurance personnel accountable if they violate the law? Maybe you didn’t know that you could, but you can, which is why its incredibly important to know your rights under the Texas Insurance Code.
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After every major flood event, I am contacted by at least one business owner and/or condominium owner who suffered flood damage, filed their claim with their NFIP1 Flood Insurance Company (Allstate, Hartford, Wright Flood, Farmers, FEMA, etc.), and was then told by either the flood insurance company or adjuster that the flood insurance policy did not cover all of the buildings or structures on the property. The business owners are enraged because they were under the impression that all buildings on the property were covered.
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If you are unhappy or have a complaint with how you were treated by your insurance company or adjuster it’s important to let the Texas Department of Insurance know. Many people do not realize that they can file an official complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance (“TDI”) for various bad acts or mistreatment by the insurance company or its adjusters or other personnel. The process is actually quite simple.
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2017 wasn’t the best year for Houston Texas. Due to the unprecedented rain fall that occurred during Hurricane Harvey, the Barker Reservoir and the Addicks Reservoir—both located off of Highway 6 in Houston—quickly filled to their maximum capacity. In an effort to protect the greater Houston area from experiencing even worse flood inundation, the US Army Corps of Engineers—the federal government entity responsible for management of the reservoirs—intentionally released the flood gates on the reservoirs, causing severe flood inundation to thousands of homes and businesses that had never flooded, were not in a flood zone, and had no reason to expect that level of damage.
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As advocates for victims whose lives have been turned upside down as a result of the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, we know that one year may not be enough time for flood victims to obtain the estimates and documents necessary to submit their required proof of loss form to FEMA or their flood insurance company.
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