The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently released updated data from Hurricane Michael.1 A review of the available data shows the damage for the Florida panhandle. While we all know that Michael did substantial damage in the Florida panhandle the numbers have continued to grow. Over one hundred and twenty-five thousand hurricane claims have been filed (125,356) totaling estimated insured losses at over three billion dollars ($3,430,014,424).
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The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) Board of Directors voted to increase rates for 2019 by 10% at the July 31st Board Meeting.1 TWIA then reported the proposed rate increase to the Texas Department of Insurance and the Commissioner of Insurance must approve the rate. The rate increase would go into effect for all policies issued or renewed in 2019.
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I often get asked: “Can I still file a lawsuit against my insurance company for my claim from. . . .” Like all good lawyers my answer is maybe. The reality is that the deadlines to file a lawsuit against an insurance company are controlled by the state law that applies to your claim and the facts of your individual case.
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The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation recently released updated data from Hurricane Irma.1 A quick review of the data paints an interesting picture. While we all know that Irma did substantial damage in Florida, the sheer size of the numbers is still daunting. Almost one million claims have been reported (997,237) totaling over $10,000,000,000.00 in estimated damage. These are the numbers self-reported from insurers.
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In a recent decision from a United States District Court, the trial court had to decide whether the insured was owed statutory interest and attorneys’ fees even though the insured did not properly plead for the interest or fees. In Agredano v. State Farm Lloyds, the insured prevailed on their breach of contract claim.1 After the trial, the court had to decide if the insured was allowed to recover statutory interest and attorneys’ fees.
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I often take calls from potential clients and public adjusters frustrated with an insurance company that has denied, delayed and then underpaid a claim and then ultimately invoked appraisal. Often the insured or public adjuster states that multiple inspections have taken place with substantial correspondence between the parties and the question is, “can the insurance company do that? It has been too long and time and resources have been wasted. Can we argue the insurance company waived the right to invoke appraisal?”
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Now that we are in June, Atlantic hurricane season is officially upon us. I write this while sitting in our Houston office that was closed less ten months ago following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation. Many homes and businesses are still damaged and Houston continues to feel the effects of Harvey. However, let’s take a moment to look ahead to the 2018 hurricane season.
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I often hear from insureds that have been negotiating with their insurance company for a period of time when the insurer suddenly demands appraisal. The insureds do not want to go to appraisal and the first question is always, “Can the insurance company do that?” followed by “This claim has been going on for months, isn’t it too late?” My usual answer is that in Texas the insurance company can force appraisal before litigation if it is part of the insurance policy. However, when an insurance company demands appraisal while in litigation the answer often depends on the facts of the case.
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I commonly get asked coverage questions that relate to a commercial client’s claim for damages. My response is always the same, “send me the policy and I will take a look.” I know this sounds obvious but with the multitude of policies out there it is impossible to relate a policy to a factual situation without first reading the policy.
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