Texas is where "the game" is being played regarding insurance coverage disputes in 2010. The Windstorm Insurance Network will hold its second Texas Insurance Symposium on May 11, 2010, in Dallas, Texas, where many of the issues related to windstorm coverage will be discussed. Certainly, the coverage issues raised by Hurricane Ike litigation will be highlighted.
(Note: This Guest Blog is by Tina Nicholson, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is part of a series she and fellow attorney Javier Delgado will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).
Everyone knows what to do when disaster looms. When the disaster is a hurricane, you gas up the car and buy batteries. When it’s a tornado, you get in the closet with a flashlight and a radio. When a winter storm approaches, you buy food and firewood.
The Hurricane Katrina insurance coverage litigation along the Mississippi Coast was a once in a lifetime event for most attorneys. For me, it was obvious from the first day we landed at Stennis airport that this was where the Super Bowl of insurance coverage litigation was going to be waged for the next several years. With a lot of help from Florida panhandle trial attorneys Larry Keefe and Sparky Lovelace (Sparky quickly left our venture and started work with his long time friend, Dickie Scruggs), we decided to build two law offices–one in Bay St. Louis and the other in Gulfport. Teenage friends of mine who were local attorneys without law offices as a result of Katrina, Randy SantaCruz and William Weatherly, agreed to sign on with our efforts after Cindy Cady recruited them. With insurance claim denials and low payments running rampant, we were overworked with cases and clients. We already had transferred Jason Ciofalo from Tampa to work full time in Mississippi, and Deborah Trotter was working full time with Randy Santa Cruz out of the Bay St. Louis office.
(Note: This Guest Blog is by Tina Nicholson, an attorney with Merlin Law Group in the Houston, Texas, office. This is the seventh in a series she and fellow attorney Javier Delgado will be writing on Texas property insurance issues).
Since the Texas Supreme Court rendered its opinion in last summer’s landmark decision regarding insurance appraisals — State Farm Lloyds v. Johnson — the appraisal process has been in the legal spotlight. Last week, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Houston Division), interpreting Texas law, issued an opinion which outlined the factors that should be considered when deciding whether an insurer has waived its right to demand appraisal. In the case of Sanchez v. Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford, 2010 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 6295 (Jan.27, 2010), the homeowner opposed the insurer’s invocation of the appraisal clause, asserting that the insurer had waived its right to appraisal.
Most Texas policyholders do not know what the law requires of insurance companies in regard to responding to a claim. The “Prompt Payment of Insurance Claims” statute in Chapter 542 of the Texas Insurance Code imposes certain deadlines on insurers for responding to……
Continue Reading The Texas Prompt Payment Statute Protects Policyholders
Dedicated insurance professionals, such as the lawyers in our firm, can spend their entire careers learning this area of the law. However, sometimes people become consumed in the details and neglect essential principles. It is a good idea, from time to time, to check that we have touched all the bases. Accordingly, here is a quick review of five important principles….…
Continue Reading Five Basic Rules for a Successful Insurance Claim
By: Frank Chimento
Director of Business Development and Client Services
I’ve been reading an outstanding book by noted author, Charles Swindoll about the life of the Apostle Paul. The book is simply titled, Paul: A Man Of Grace and Grit. While gaining an in…
If you want to find a bunch of irate policyholders with plenty of stories to tell, hang out with Tina Nicholson and Javier Delgado in our Houston office. Commercial and residential policyholders have had enough frustration trying to do it themselves and are seeking legal counsel to fight the delays and denials from their insurance carriers. Anger at the insurance company and the adjusters working their claim is the prevalent emotion. Over the next several weeks, I plan to write much more on Texas property insurance law and protection it provides because Texas is the hottest new venue in the insurance litigation war. We are in the middle of it.
The deteriorating economy appears to be having an impact on our business. We are being referred more insurance disputes involving losses that are directly the result of the souring economy.
For the first time in a decade, we have been referred several fire claims that are allegedly of an incendiary (intentionally set) cause.