Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico Still Struggling After Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria was one of the worst Atlantic Hurricanes to ever rip through the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. When Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, the storm was a high-end Category 4 Hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 175 miles per hour. The damage from the storm was absolutely catastrophic and Puerto Ricans are still struggling to rebuild in Maria’s aftermath.

Hurricane Maria Makes Landfall

Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. In addition to hurricane force winds, Maria brought heavy rainfall, as much as 37.9 inches in some areas, which caused widespread flooding. This flooding was compounded by La Plata Lake Dam floodgate releases. Although the releases were necessary to prevent the complete failure of the dam, the floods caused by the releases trapped thousands of Puerto Ricans. Residents affected by the flood releases reported waters rose at least six feet in only thirty minutes, with floodwaters reaching a depth of 15 feet in some areas.

Puerto Rico’s Damaged Electrical Grid

When Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico, the electrical grid for the island was already previously damaged. Maria further damaged the electrical grid, leaving all 3.4 million Puerto Ricans without power. In addition to the complete destruction of the electrical grid, 85% of all aboveground phones and Internet cables were knocked out, making communication impossible for the vast majority of the island.

One month after Hurricane Maria’s landfall, 88% of the island was still without power. This represented approximately three million people. Three months after the hurricane, over 1.5 million Puerto Ricans were still without power. Now, over six months later, many Puerto Ricans – especially those residing outside of San Juan – remain without power.

Problematic Recovery

Puerto Rico’s recovery had a slow start not only because of the complete damage of the electric grid, but also because even one month after the hurricane most of the island’s highways and bridges were still heavily damaged. One month after Hurricane Maria, only 392 miles of the island’s 5,073 miles of road were open.

Economic Impact of Hurricane Maria

Like all natural disasters, Hurricane Maria caused significant damage. While the exact total amount of damage is not yet known, Puerto Rican authorities have requested $94 billion in aid. The storm not only affected residents and visitors, but it left businesses also struggling. Approximately 80% of Puerto Rico’s agriculture was lost in the hurricane, which totals about $780 million.

Puerto Rico is also responsible for manufacturing many medical devices and medications, representing about 30% of the island’s overall economy. Not only were these factories forced to shut down without electricity, but many of them also suffered damage, preventing them from reopening.

Insurance Has Been Slow To Act

Although many homes and businesses were protected by insurance policies, insurance companies have been slow to act. When natural disasters occur, billions of dollars of claims can be sought from insurance providers. Insurance companies try their best to avoid paying out claims by causing unnecessary delays and using bad faith tactics. The insurance landscape is particularly complex in Puerto Rico, where a handful of domestic insurers dominate the market, but most of the insurance risk is ceded to large reinsurers in Europe.

A Dire Situation for the Puerto Rican Business Community and Economy

Hurricane Maria claims on behalf of the Puerto Rico business community will be exceedingly complex. The Insurance Commissioner has already levied extensive fines against the domestic insurance industry for failing to handle claims in a timely manner. The well-capitalized reinsurance industry in European capitals such as London and Berlin maintain much of the financial risk on Puerto Rico insurance claims, but they have been slow to release money needed to rebuild. Until they do so, the economy will remain strangled and the Puerto Rico business community will remain at risk of financial collapse.

Bridge City Hurricane Harvey Claims

Bridge City Slow To Recover After Hurricane Harvey

Residents of Bridge City, Texas were wary as Hurricane Harvey made landfall and slowly made its way along the Texas coast. Flooding has been problematic for Bridge City in the past, but nothing could prepare residents for the unprecedented rainfall dropped by Harvey.

On the night of August 30, 2017, Bridge City was absolutely inundated with floodwaters, causing widespread damage. The past twenty-four hours had seen over 20 inches of rainfall. By the time Harvey was working its way toward Southeast Texas, it was a slow-moving storm, meaning everywhere in Harvey’s path would be drenched in rainfall for several days before Harvey moved on.

Harvey’s flooding was compounded by the fact that trash and debris clogged the city’s drainage system, preventing rainwaters from draining properly. City officials estimate 90% of the flooding in Bridge City was due to its clogged drainage systems. This resulted in homes and businesses being flooded for several days before the floodwaters finally subsided.

Much of Bridge City suffered catastrophic damage from Hurricane Harvey. After Harvey passed through the small Texas city, the streets were lined with huge piles of debris as property owners immediately began trying to salvage their homes and businesses and prevent further damage. Unfortunately, much of Bridge City is still struggling. Although it’s been more than six months since Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, recovery has been particularly slow.

Hurricane Harvey victims in Bridge City are discovering insurance companies are less than honest when handling and paying out on Hurricane Harvey claims. An insurance company is first and foremost a business, so natural disasters will cause it to pay out millions or even billions of dollars of claims. To minimize payouts, insurance companies often use bad faith tactics.

Insurance companies have been misrepresenting policies, undervaluing damages, and outright denying valid claims. Without proper payouts from their insurance companies, property owners have been financially unable to completely rebuild. For policyholders struggling with a Bridge City Hurricane Harvey claim, the only way to receive rightful compensation is by partnering with an experienced insurance lawyer.

Bridge City Hurricane Harvey Claims

The experienced insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP have helped victims of bad faith insurance tactics throughout Texas and across the country. We are working with many Hurricane Harvey victims to help them get what they are rightfully owed under their insurance policies. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim. There is no upfront cost for working with us. We work on a contingency fee basis so you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover compensation.

Beaumont Hurricane Harvey Claims

After Unprecedented Rainfall Beaumont Still Rebuilding After Harvey

Southeastern Texas was battered by rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. Although Harvey had downgraded from its Category 4 status when it swept through Beaumont, the storm still managed to cause widespread damage. The city received so much rainfall it effectively became an island, making it difficult for people and supplies to get out or in. The lasting effect of this flooding is that the city has seen very slow progress in rebuilding.

Many houses in Beaumont were flooded up to their roofs and residents were forced to evacuate to storm shelters. The situation became dire as rising rainwater continued, completely flooding routes in and out of Beaumont. Multiple highways, including Highway 290 and I-10, were completely impassible via vehicle.

According to measurements taken by the National Weather Service, the city received 49.06 inches of water, with more than half of this rain falling during one day. The rainfall caused such significant damage to the municipal water system that it left Beaumont residents without running water for several days .

Six months after Harvey, much of Beaumont is still uninhabitable and unusable. Homes and businesses gutted by Harvey’s aftermath still await repairs because contractors have been hard to come by. For some property owners, floodwaters sat as high as the roofs for days, making entire properties a total loss. The decision whether or not to rebuild at all has been a difficult one, and some property owners are selling “as-is,” afraid of rebuilding only to be flooded again in future storms.

What the Insurance Companies Won’t Tell You 

The insurance industry has been quick to deny substantial interior damage claims to commercial properties on the ground that the wind did not create an opening in the roof or exterior. But in many insurance policies, interior damage is covered without a “storm created opening.” Whether or not interior damage is covered depends on the language of each individual policy. But too often, the insurance company will outright deny interior damage without mentioning the actual language of the insurance policy. Interior damages can be substantial, and each claim and policy must be evaluated on its own merits to determine whether or not the damage is covered.

Bad Faith Insurance Practices

Part of Beaumont’s slow recovery comes from property owners struggling with their insurance companies. Insurance is first and foremost a business. This means that when property owners try to collect on their policies, many insurance companies use bad faith tactics to avoid paying out on claims. Insurance companies may misrepresent policies to avoid payouts, including representing that certain damages are not covered by a policy when in fact they are. Insurance companies might also grossly underestimate the scope and cost of property damage to minimize payments. However, these tactics aren’t just wrong, they’re illegal. If your insurance company isn’t being straight with you during your Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to get help.

Raizner Slania LLP Can Help With Your Beaumont Hurricane Harvey Claim

At Raizner Slania LLP, our lawyers have the experience and know-how to take on large insurance companies. For years we have helped victims all across the country get their rightful payments under their insurance policies. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.

Port Arthur Hurricane Harvey Claim

Port Arthur Still Struggling in Harvey’s Wake

Although Port Arthur was hundreds of miles away from Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, the city and surrounding areas still suffered catastrophic damage from Harvey. The storm dropped relentless amounts of rain that caused flash flooding and other dangerous flood conditions.

Unprecedented Rainfall in Port Arthur

According to the National Weather Service, 26.03 inches of rain fell at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport near Port Arthur on August 29, 2017 alone. In total, 47.35 inches of rainfall was recorded in Port Arthur. In the days after Hurricane Harvey hit landfall, the rain continued to cause flooding for Part Arthur residents. A local storm shelter was set up at the Bob Bower Civic Center, but evacuees were forced to move to other shelters as conditions became more dangerous.

Port Arthur gained nationwide attention when news of a flooded nursing home showed residents stuck in several feet of water. Nearly 100 nursing home residents were evacuated by boat. But nursing home residents were not the only ones evacuated from Port Arthur. Thousands of residents were left displaced as rapidly rising floodwaters forced them to leave their homes with little to no notice.

Recovering After Hurricane Harvey

The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey was catastrophic for Port Arthur. City officials estimate it will cost $25 million just to rid the city of debris and garbage from the storm. The debris is also causing health problems for some residents. Drywall soaked in floodwaters can quickly develop black mold, and many residents have suffered from breathing problems and rashes associated with black mold exposure. For business owners, recovery has been particularly challenging. In addition to the cost of rebuilding, many business owners are left without a way to generate revenue after floodwaters destroyed their property.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are slowing rebuilding down even further. Hurricane Harvey caused billions of dollars in property damage collectively, and insurance companies are trying their best to avoid costly payouts in the wake of the storm. Many insurance companies are wrongfully denying claims and misrepresenting policies to save on their bottom lines. In some cases, insurance companies are claiming that they don’t need to pay for massive interior damages because there was no “storm created opening,” when in fact the roof was damaged. In other cases, the insurance policy does not require a storm created opening for the interior to be covered, and the insurance company is claiming the exact opposite. Each policy must be reviewed on its own merits to determine what is and is not covered.

Get Help With Your Port Arthur Hurricane Harvey Claim

If you regularly pay premiums, you are entitled to the coverage your insurance policy affords. If your insurance company is delaying, undervaluing, or denying your Port Arthur Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to call the experienced insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP. We can help you get the coverage you deserve.

Vidor Hurricane Harvey Claim

Vidor, Texas Still Grappling With Hurricane Harvey Damage

When Hurricane Harvey first made landfall on the Texas coast, residents in Vidor may at first have breathed a sigh of relief. The hurricane came ashore a couple hundred miles down the coast and did not prove an immediate threat to places further east like Vidor. Unfortunately, Hurricane Harvey was a particularly slow moving storm and it stalled over parts of Texas, dropping unprecedented amounts of rain. In the days after Harvey came ashore, it was increasingly clear that Vidor would not make it out unscathed.

Many Vidor residents moved into a temporary shelter at Pine Forest Elementary School when the shelter needed to be evacuated on August 31st due to rising floodwaters. Hundreds of residents were stranded without food or power in low-lying neighborhoods, and parts of Interstate-10 running through Vidor were completely flooded. According to the National Hurricane Center, nearby Orange County Airport recorded 36.47 inches of rainfall during Harvey’s relentless downpour.

The damage to Vidor after Hurricane Harvey was catastrophic. Any available transportation – from private planes to black hawk helicopters – worked to get supplies to stranded families while cars sat floating in floodwaters. Many homes, businesses, schools, and other buildings suffered significant property damage.

Many properties in Vidor have been deemed a total loss from flood damage, but property owners are also battling other types of damage. Harvey’s relentless rainfall caused many properties to suffer interior water damage. For some buildings, wind damage created openings for rainfall to fall through, damaging the interiors.

Handling Your Vidor Hurricane Harvey Claim

All along the coast and throughout Texas, millions of property owners are struggling with Hurricane Harvey claims. Insurance companies are using a variety of bad faith and fraudulent tactics to minimize or outright deny valid claims, which has dramatically slowed down the rebuilding process and crippled businesses desperate to get up and running again.

If you are still struggling with your Vidor Hurricane Harvey claim, you need to turn to an experienced insurance lawyer. At Raizner Slania LLP, our attorneys have years of experience helping victims of natural disasters get the most out of their insurance policies. We already represent hundreds of Hurricane Harvey victims and we may be able to help you with your claim. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Port Aransas Hurricane Harvey Claim

Port Aransas Still Rebuilding After Enduring Hurricane Harvey Six Months Ago

Hurricane Harvey came ashore between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas on August 25, 2017. Port Aransas was devastated by hurricane force winds, storm surges, and relentless rainfall. As a result of Harvey’s arrival, property owners in Port Aransas are still clearing debris and struggling to rebuild. According to the local chamber of commerce, 90% of all buildings in Port Aransas suffered damage from the storm, making restoration and rebuilding complicated and time consuming.

In the months after Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas has been busy rebuilding, but progress has been incredibly slow. Many of the condos and high-rises that dotted the seashore remain boarded up, and only a fraction of hotels have reopened for business. For a town that relies on tourism, Harvey’s economic impact went far beyond the physical property damage caused by the storm – the financial losses remain ongoing because of income lost during the rebuilding process. Only about 25% of all hotel and motel rooms available in Port Aransas are open for business. For a city that sees approximately five million tourists a year, the lost revenue from Harvey is astronomical. It is projected the city will need three to five years for a complete recovery.

Harvey’s destruction in Port Aransas was absolute. Many buildings, including the police department and courthouse have been considered total losses. This means they will need to be completely torn down and rebuilt. This is time consuming and extremely costly. Harvey caused such complete damage in part because of its hurricane force winds. The National Weather Service clocked winds in Port Aransas at 132 miles per hour with sustained winds up to 110 miles per hour.

These winds tore open many roofs and other structures, allowing rainfall to drench the interiors. For many business owners, the rainfall also destroyed the interior walls, furniture, fixtures, and other interior property items.

Even though the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey seems straightforward, many property owners are fighting with insurance companies over their Hurricane Harvey claims. Although the damage is obvious to property owners, insurance companies are using bad faith tactics to ignore obvious damage and wrongfully deny valid insurance claims. They are doing this to avoid expensive payouts, which is both illegal and all too common. Policyholders that regularly pay their premiums deserve full coverage under their policies. For many Port Aransas property owners, the only way to get the compensation they are entitled to is to work with an experienced insurance lawyer.

Get Help With Your Port Aransas Hurricane Harvey Claim

At Raizner Slania LLP, our attorneys are leaders in insurance litigation. We’ve helped property owners from around the country recover funds owed under their policies and more, and we are currently fighting in court for Hurricane Harvey victims all across Texas. If you need help with your Port Aransas Hurricane Harvey claim, call us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case.