Tag: Commercial Property Damage

hail damage insurance claim

Raizner Slania Files Tarrant County Hail Damage Lawsuit

Our client, a local industrial commercial property owner, was forced to file a lawsuit against Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company (Nationwide) after its hail damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

March 2016 Hailstorm in Tarrant County

On March 17, 2016, the plaintiff’s property, a food distributorship building, was substantially damaged by a hailstorm that swept through Tarrant County. As a result, the roof, exteriors, interiors, business and personal property, and other machinery and equipment on the property sustained damage. Immediately after the storm, the plaintiff filed a hail damage commercial property insurance claim with Nationwide.

In response to the claim, Nationwide assigned representatives, adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s files that were inadequately and improperly trained. Specifically, Nationwide assigned the claim to a local adjuster who was not equipped to handle this type of claim.

The local adjuster performed a haphazard inspection of the property and refused to acknowledge all of the damages despite the fact that the plaintiff pointed them out. The local adjuster also refused to retain appropriate consultants to assess the claim.

Nationwide and the local adjuster performed an incomplete and unreasonable investigation of plaintiff’s claim, which is evidenced by the undervalued estimate of damages for the necessary repairs for the property. Nationwide relied solely on the local adjuster’s substandard investigation when determining what amounts, if any, to pay out on the plaintiff’s claim. As a result of the haphazard inspection, misrepresentation, and inadequate investigation, the plaintiff’s claim was grossly underpaid.

Nationwide Violated Texas Law

Our client sites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of claims, and failure to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim. Additionally, our client also cites violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

Raizner Slania: Texas Hail Damage Attorney

If your insurance carrier denied, delayed, underpaid, or disputed a Texas hail damage claim, you need an experienced team of property insurance lawyers to help you get the compensation you deserve. The bad faith insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania have helped scores of companies across Texas and around the country get the compensation they deserve under their policies. Call us today for a free consultation.

Damage Claim

Harris County Hail Damage Lawsuit

Our client, a local hotel owner, was forced to file a lawsuit against Arch Specialty Insurance Company (Arch) after its hail damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

April 2015 Hailstorm in Texas

On April 17, 2015, a severe hailstorm swept across Harris County and caused substantial damage to the plaintiff’s roof, exteriors, and interiors of the property. Immediately after the storm, the plaintiff filed a commercial insurance claim under its policy with Arch for damages caused by the hail. In response to the claim, Arch assigned representatives, adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file. Specifically, Arch assigned a local adjuster with McLarens Global Claims Services. The local adjuster was inadequately trained to handle this type of claim and failed to perform a thorough investigation.

The local adjuster refused to acknowledge all of the damages to the property and did not prepare any estimates or scope of damages to the property or failed to provide those to the plaintiff. Without an estimate or scope of damages, the plaintiff was forced to prepare its own estimates for the local adjuster. The local adjuster ignored the plaintiff’s estimates and instead retained biased consultants who were not registered with the Texas Department of Insurance.

The local adjuster represented to the plaintiff that the hail damage did not occur during Arch’s policy period and was therefore not covered. As a result of the local adjuster’s haphazard inspection, misrepresentations, and inadequate investigation, Arch wrongfully denied the plaintiff’s hail damage insurance claim. Because of this, our client was forced to retain an attorney to prosecute its rightful claim for insurance benefits.

Arch Insurance Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client cites Arch’s numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failing to implement reasonable standards for a prompt investigation of claims arising under its policies, refusal to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation with respect to the claim, and misrepresentation of the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage.

Texas Commercial Property Insurance Lawyers

If your insurance carrier wrongfully denied or grossly underpaid your Texas commercial property damage insurance claim, the experienced attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. We’ve helped policyholders across Harris County, throughout Texas, and around the country get the rightful payments they deserve under their insurance policies. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

deceptive contractor

Deceptive Contractors Waiving Deductibles

After storms have pelted Texas with wind, rain, and hail over the past few months, contractors from all around the country are coming to places like Fort Worth and Wylie and placing signs and ads for homeowners and business owners seeking to repair roofs. In some instances, they are offering to waive or rebate deductibles, such that property owners would not have to pay anything to get a brand new roof.  No deductible, and a new roof?  Sound too good to be true?  It is, and it’s illegal.

When a property owner receives money from a property or casualty insurance policy to repair damage, it is illegal for a contractor, or anyone else providing services to pay or rebate the insurance deductible, if the contractor is also inflating the cost of the repair to make up for the deductible.

While this seem like more of a problem for the contractor rather than the property owner, section 27.02 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code makes it illegal for an insured policyholder to participate in this practice. If the insured agrees to submit a claim under a policy knowing that the deductible has been rebated and the charges exceed what is customary in order to make up for it, then the policyholder can be in a lot of hot water.

This problem doesn’t stop with contractors who are operating outside of the law. In fact, some insurance companies seem to be encouraging this illegal practice, if not outright participating in it. Certain insurance companies are now offering to waive a deductible for a property owner if they will consent to use the insurer’s preferred contractor to do the repairs. This is often called a preferred vendor program, and it raises significant legal concerns. Oftentimes these preferred vendors have the insurer’s best interests in mind rather than their own client’s. They will do whatever the insurance company tells them to do – or not do – on repairs, rather than what is necessary to do the job right for their customers. When insurance companies offer to waive a deductible in exchange for an owner working with a preferred vendor, it may sound tempting for many consumers – but it’s often a trap for consumers, as the preferred vendor will do a lesser scope of work just to save the insurance company money. And when insurance companies sweeten the pot by offering to waive a deductible, they are not only harming consumers with their preferred vendor programs, but they appear to be breaking the law as it is written in Section 27.02 of the Texas Business and Commerce Code.

If it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it very well may be. Consumers can avoid this problem by researching contractors and learning more about who they are and what their other customers say about them. There are many legitimate contractors who operate within the requirements of the law, and it’s important for consumers to only do business with contractors who follow the law.

Policyholders might be anxious to get damage repaired as soon as possible, but it’s important to do the proper research before hiring anyone to fix the damage. If you are ever in doubt, contact a licensed public adjuster or an attorney for advice.

Raizner Slania: Texas Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys

If your commercial property insurance carrier has denied, delayed, underpaid, or disputed your insurance claim, the experienced Texas insurance litigation attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation. We handle all bad faith insurance litigation cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay attorneys’ fees unless we help you recover on your claim.

insurance claim

How Much Time Does An Insurance Company Have To Pay An Insurance Claim In Texas?

The recent storms that have hit all over Texas – from Houston to Fort Worth to San Antonio – will have many property owners filing commercial property insurance claims. Regardless of how and when property damage occurs, insurance companies are governed by regulations that dictate how quickly they must acknowledge, investigate, and resolve claims. To best prepare for filing your business insurance claim, it’s important to know how long the claims process generally takes and what you can expect.

Step One: Providing Notice of the Claim

It may seem obvious, but it cannot be understated how important it is to immediately contact your insurance carrier once you have discovered property damage. While some damage might be obvious, like a tree falling on your roof, other damage may be harder to spot, like small holes in the roof from shingles blown off in a storm. In both cases, failing to address the damage could cause further damage to the property. To provide evidence of the damages you are claiming, take pictures and/or video of all affected aspects of the property. You must always give “reasonable notice” of a claim to your insurer, and oftentimes insurance policies specify a time period of one to two years.

Step Two: The Investigation Process

Once you have submitted your claim, your insurance carrier has 15 calendar days to 1) acknowledge the claim, 2) begin its investigation, and 3) request any additional information it reasonably requires. All of this must take place within 15 days of notice, or in the case of a surplus lines carrier, 30 days of notice.

Step Three: Approval or Denial

After the insurance carrier has received all requested documents, they have 15 days to make a determination on the claim. If the claim is approved, the carrier has five business days to issue payment. If the insurer is a surplus lines carrier, it has 20 business days issue payment.

Penalties

The insurance process in Texas is legally required to be complete within 60 days of the initial notice, unless a specific exception applies. If the insurance company fails to follow these rules, Texas policyholders have the right to collect 18% annual interest and attorneys’ fees, in addition to the claim amount.

Exceptions

In the case of a natural disaster, it may be logistically difficult for an insurance company to properly investigate and make determinations on a massive number of claims in the statutorily prescribed timeframe. An insurance carrier that needs more time address a claim can take 45 days to make its decision as long as it sends the policyholders notice explaining the delay. The Texas Department of Insurance can also grant insurance companies an additional 15 days to decide on a claim if there has been a natural disaster.

Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys

More information on Texas prompt payment and unfair claims settlement practices rules can be found in Section 542 of the Texas Insurance Code, If your insurance company has unlawfully delayed your commercial property insurance claim, you have the right to seek compensation. The attorneys at Raizner Slania have extensive experience helping policyholders obtain rightful and timely payments from insurance companies around the world. Call today for a free consultation.

hailstorm property damage

Hailstorm Property Damage Lawsuit Filed in Dallas County

Our client filed suit against Endurance American Specialty Insurance Company (Endurance) and Engle Martin & Associates Inc. after its commercial hailstorm property damage claim was underpaid.

October 2014 Dallas County Hailstorm Property Damage

On October 2, 2014, a wind and hailstorm caused significant property damage in Dallas County, Texas including damages to the plaintiff’s roof and interiors. Immediately upon discovering the damages, the plaintiff filed insurance claims under its policy for the damage caused by the storm.

The insurer of the property, Endurance American Specialty Insurance Company, assigned adjusters that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, Endurance assigned the claim to an internal adjuster who is not licensed in the state of Texas. In turn, this adjuster reassigned the claim to Engle Martin & Associates, which again reassigned the claim to its own local adjuster. This adjuster was not equipped to handle this sort of claim and failed to perform a thorough investigation of the property. As a result of the substandard investigation, the plaintiff was paid only a small portion of its commercial property insurance claim, the rest of its claim was denied, and the claim was closed. The plaintiff requested that the damage be re-evaluated, but despite this request for a second look, again its damages were not acknowledged and its claim was denied.

Violation of Texas Insurance Law and Acting in Bad Faith

The insurance carrier failed to acknowledge obvious commercial property damage and underpaid large portions of our client’s claim for repairs under its insurance policy. Because of this, our client was forced to retain an attorney to prosecute its claim for insurance benefits. The insurance carrier continued to delay and/or deny payment for the necessary repairs, which has caused a significant negative economic impact on our client’s business, worry, distress, and continuing economic and physical damage.

Our client cites violations of the Texas Insurance Code including a failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and refusal to pay a claim without a reasonable investigation, among others. Our client alleges that the insurance carrier acted in bad faith and violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act.

Dallas County Bad Faith Insurance Attorneys

If your commercial insurance carrier has acted in bad faith and denied, underpaid, delayed, or disputed your property damage claim, the attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. We have extensive experience helping policyholders obtain their rightful payments from insurance companies. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you don’t owe us anything unless we recover for you financially. Call us today for a free consultation.

Damage Claim

Dallas County Hailstorm Damages Lawsuit

Our clients, the owners of a Lubbock area apartment complex, filed suit against Aspen Specialty Insurance Company, Chubb Custom Insurance Company, Lloyds of London, and Vericlaim Inc., in Dallas County, Texas. Our client was forced to file this lawsuit after claims filed with its insurance companies for hailstorm damages that were not properly paid according to Texas law.

August 2014 Lubbock, Texas Hailstorm Damages Commercial Property

On August 28, 2014, a hailstorm caused significant property damage in Lubbock, Texas, including damage to the plaintiffs’ roof, exteriors, HVAC, and other structures on the property. Upon discovering the damage, plaintiffs immediately filed insurance claims under their policies with the insurance carriers for damages caused by the hail.

The insurance carriers assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the commercial property hailstorm damage claim. Specifically, they assigned Vericlaim Inc., who in turn assigned an adjuster to inspect the damage. Our client alleges that the adjuster performed substandard inspections of the property and failed to prepare any estimates of the damage. Our client’s representatives pointed out obvious damages to the adjuster, but they were ignored. Our client was then forced to demand a re-inspection of the property several times. In response, the adjuster hired a consultant who is not licensed with the Texas Department of Insurance to estimate repairs on the property. This unlicensed consultant grossly underestimated the extent and the value of the hailstorm damage.

The Insurance Carriers Violated Texas Law and Acted in Bad Faith

The insurance carriers wrongfully underpaid and denied large portions of our client’s property claims for repairs under the policy. Because of this, our client hired its own consultant at its own expense to independently evaluate the property damage. Our client’s consultant identified substantial damage far beyond what the insurance carriers acknowledged. Despite this, the insurance carriers still refused to pay for the necessary repairs to the property as required under the terms of the insurance policy and under Texas law.

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, mostly involving a failure to timely commence investigation of the claim, acting in bad faith by misinterpreting the insurance policy, making misleading statements about several aspects of the claim, breach of contract, breach of duty of goof faith and fair dealing, as well as violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).

Hailstorm Property Damage Attorneys

If your commercial insurance carrier has denied, delayed, or disputed a hail damage insurance claim, an experienced insurance litigation attorney at Raizner Slania can help. Our lawyers have earned nationwide recognition for helping policyholders succeed in obtaining their rightful financial payments from insurance companies that operate in bad faith. Please contact us today for a free initial consultation. We handle all bad faith insurance litigation cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay us anything unless we help you recover on your claim.