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Insurance Claims and HB 1774

My office has received multiple inquiries as to the implications of House Bill 1774 and the rumored necessity of filing insurance claims before September 1, 2017. I want to clarify the effects of this bill for everyone looking to file insurance claims on damage from Hurricane Harvey.

 

Does the bill apply to all insurance claims made on or after September 1?

  • No, it only impacts lawsuits filed against insurance companies for untimely payment of damages.

Who is affected by the new law?

  • Only individuals and businesses who sue insurance companies for failure to pay damages in a timely manner are affected by this change. Previously, a policy holder could file a lawsuit against their insurance company and levy an interest penalty of up to 18% of the total damages in an insurance claim. The new law caps interest penalties at 10%.

Which claims are NOT affected by the new law?

  • Flood-related claims through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and insurance through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) are not directly impacted by the new provisions.

What else does the bill do?

  • Requires policy holders to notify their insurance company of intention to sue for inaction 61 days in advance
  • Requires policy holders to cover most legal fees if the insurance company successfully settles to pay less than 80% of any claim
  • Directs most lawsuits against insurance companies to federal courts, which can extend the claims process

More information on insurance claims:

 

Hopefully this brings light to the confusion caused by HB 1774. We urge you to contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to report property damage. Please contact my office at 512-463-0492 if you have any further questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gene Wu

District 137 Representative