Today’s deposition of Professor William Spelman starts a series of depositions in the Texas slab cases involving TWIA. Several weeks ago, policyholder attorneys, including myself, met in Galveston to organize a series of depositions and decide upon the work assignments for these cases. This will be the first of many depositions and discovery attempts by policyholder attorneys to gain additional recovery for those individuals who suffered the most devastation caused by Hurricane Ike.
The Texas policyholder bar representing Texas "Slabbers" met yesterday in Galveston. The bottom line for those with the most significantly destroyed buildings is that these cases and the litigation discovery is being coordinated and will be moving much quicker.
(Note: This Guest Blog is by Javier Delgado, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the first in a series he and fellow attorney Tina Nicholson will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T TELL ME EVERYTHING THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT TWIA?”
No, this is not a typographical error. There are many things that we have learned about Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) and many things that we cannot openly discuss.
As we have seen with the Katrina and Wilma litigation, courts will enforce the anticoncurrent causation clause, standard in most all risk and wind insurance policies. Many who suffered total losses could not fully recover because they did not have adequate flood insurance. Generally, policyholders with insufficient flood coverage limits fall into three categories:
- Those who did not purchase flood coverage.
- Those who underestimated the value of full replacement cost.
- Those correctly estimating replacement coverage but not able to purchase the amount through National Flood.
Most policyholders do not know where to find experts familiar with issues of windstorm damage. Many cannot afford to do so. Today, I am making available a client’s meteorologist report to help demonstrate that many areas in Galveston, Bolivar and Houston sustained tornado type wind events.…
Texas Windstorm Insurance Association says you only have 30 days to appeal its determination of damage to your property! DO NOT RUSH TO APPEAL before you learn what TWIA is not telling you; you will give up valuable legal rights and remedies.…
*Chip Merlin’s Note–Rocco Calaci has been a noted meteorology expert witness in the Katrina Legal Wars. After meeting him at a recent FAPIA Convention, I invited him to write a series of guest blogs.…
Coordination between litigants following catastrophic losses is becoming increasingly frequent. This is good if the result speeds the resolution of claims and reduces the expenditures to policyholders and insurance companies. However, the Devil is in The Details, as with most things in life.
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to try to get an advantage through case management and discovery orders applicable to all cases. I imagine insurance defense lawyers are thinking the same skeptical thoughts about policyholders’ attorneys.
The national media can be fickle. Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula. Those communities and people in them are suffering as much as those in Louisiana and Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. Yet, I have seen little in the national media regarding this story.
The Houston Press ran an excellent article, Hurricane Ike’s Wake, detailing the effects of Hurricane Ike. It also questioned why there is so little national media attention to the devastation. Even the charitable contributions to Hurricane Ike relief efforts has been minuscule compared with Hurricane Ike.
I spent the Thanksgiving Holiday in Key West. For those that have never been there, it is a unique part of Florida. You will not find prettier water anywhere in the United States, and the sunrises and sunsets are spectacular. Key West is the Southern most point of the United States and only 90 miles from Cuba. Everybody should visit Key West for a long weekend. Like Hawaii, many never go back to the mainland.…