With safety and health rightfully being first and foremost on everyone’s mind in the wake of Harvey, we still want to make folks aware that there is a new House Bill (HB 1774) in Texas that goes into effect this Friday, September 1st.
HB 1774 basically affects consumer ability to sue the insurance company when a homeowner’s claim is thought to be underpaid or payment is delayed.
According to the Dallas News, “Lawyers and consumer advocates … say the new law will severely limit homeowners’ ability to hold insurance companies accountable when they take months or years to pay for a claim, underpay or wrongfully deny legitimate claims.
And an article in the Texas Tribune states, “House Bill 1774 also reduces the penalty interest rate insurance companies face for late payments if the policyholder files a lawsuit”.
Again, from the Dallas News:
“The new law reduces the amount of interest insurance companies will have to pay to homeowners if they take too long to pay for a claim. Currently, if a court finds that the company delayed payment, the company must pay the claim with 18 percent interest. The new law knocks the interest down to about 10 percent. The law also reduces the amount of attorney fees that homeowners can recover if they don’t estimate with 80 percent accuracy the amount of damages done to their home when they file suit against the insurer.”
This means that the homeowner loses the ability to collect an additional 8% from the insurance company. And in addition, it may mean that attorneys are less able to take cases against insurers due to a state predetermined cap on payments for their legal services.
Again, with safety being first and foremost, we encourage homeowners who have sustained damage to explore their options quickly and they may want to contact their insurance company to start the claim process before September 1st.
** UPDATE 8/31/17:
It is important that policyholders notify their insurer in writing of intent to file a claim by August 31, 2017 to not have claim subject to the HB 1774.
You may find a form to fill out and send to insurer by clicking on the “Notice of Claim Form” highlighted phrase below:
Rosen & Spears is a plaintiff law firm which seeks to protect the rights of healthcare consumers and their loved ones through medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, financial abuse of seniors, and other types of claims.
For more information, please contact us.