Month: July 2018

Puerto Rico’s Power Grid

Nearly A Year After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s Power Grid Still Failing

When Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, few realized how long lasting the devastation would be. It’s been over ten months, and power has still not been completely restored to the island, making it the longest power blackout in U.S. history. Officials are projecting repairs will be completed by the end of August 2018, but experts believe the repairs will not hold up against another Category 4 hurricane.

According to Puerto Rico’s Commissioner of Public Safety, Hector Pesquera, “The grid is there, but the grid isn’t there. It’s teetering.” Mr. Pesquera warned that the grid is so fragile, even if it was hit by only a Category 1 hurricane, the island would probably lose power.

The country has been desperately trying to complete repairs, and has awarded over one billion dollars in contracts to electric companies to rebuild the power grid. Despite this, thousands of Puerto Ricans remain without power, and generators are still powering vital infrastructure buildings including hospitals and police departments. For those Puerto Ricans that do have power, it is often fleeting. All it takes is a blown transformer or a snapped line for the power to go out again.

Puerto Rico’s fragile power grid has many worried about the 2018 Hurricane Season. This season is estimated to be similar to the 2017 season, meaning the island could easily see another storm that undoes the currently incomplete repair work done on the power grid since Hurricane Maria.

Unfortunately, a fragile power grid isn’t the only thing slowing down the island’s recovery. Insurance companies have been extremely slow to process and pay out on valid claims. This means many businesses cannot conduct repairs, often leading to additional lost income and further property damage.

Get Help With You Hurricane Maria Insurance Claim

Raizner Law is now evaluating commercial property claims in Puerto Rico. There is no upfront cost for working with us, and our consultations are free. We can help you understand your legal rights. We’ve achieved significant wins against some of the largest insurers in the world, and we can help you too.

Apartment Complex Insurance Claims

Local Houston Apartment Complex Owner Files Insurance Lawsuit After Fire Damage Claim Denial

Raizner Law has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit on behalf of a local Houston apartment complex owner against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, QBE Specialty Insurance Company, General Security Indemnity Company of Arizona, Lexington Insurance Company, International Insurance Company of Hannover, PLC, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, Steadfast Insurance Company, United Specialty Insurance Company, Princeton Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance Company, and Amrisc, LLC.

November 2017 Fire

On November 12, 2017, a fire substantially damaged the plaintiff’s apartment complex property. As a result, the damaged building components include light fixtures, windows, drywall, flooring, HVACs, and the roofing system of the property, among other items. Upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim under its policy with the carriers for damages to the property caused by the fire. The plaintiff asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

The insurance carriers, through AmRisc, assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, the claim was assigned to a third party adjusting firm who in turn assigned the claim to its internal adjuster. The internal adjuster conducted an unreasonable and inadequate investigation and denied the claim for fire damage to property.

Despite clear evidence of covered damage, the carriers engaged in and ratified the internal adjuster’s improper claims conduct and ultimately approved a gross underpayment of the contractual damages. This underpayment was issued on March 26, 2018 and it omitted important facts, physical evidence, and meteorological data supporting the plaintiff’s claim. The carriers instead unreasonably blamed the loss on causes other than fire to avoid contractual responsibilities and saved in excess of $1,000,000.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Our client cites 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 the investigation of a claim, and refusal to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Lawyers for Apartment Complex Insurance Claims

If you are an apartment complex owner, and your property has suffered from wind and hail damage, fire damage, plumbing leaks and water damage, or damage from any type of disaster, you may need legal assistance. Raizner Law has successfully helped apartment complex owners and other business owners with insurance claims against some of the largest insurers in the world. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Attorneys 

Raizner Law Files Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit On Behalf of Commercial Building Owner

Raizner Law has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit on behalf of a commercial building owner against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law. The building suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Harvey, and to this day, Lloyd’s has failed to issue the plaintiff full coverage under its policy.

The plaintiff owns a large commercial property in Houston, Texas that houses a banquet hall, office space, and kitchen facilities. On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey, recognized as one of the most devastating natural disasters in United States history, made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Harvey’s extreme winds and rain when it hit Harris County, and specifically the subject property, on August 27, 2017 caused the property substantial damages. Sizeable portions of the property’s roof were compromised by wind, resulting in interior damage to ceilings, walls, and flooring.

Despite underwriting insurance policies for Texas properties, Lloyd’s does not have a single employee in Texas, so when claims like the plaintiff’s arise, they assign the claim to third-party administrators. In this case, Lloyd’s assigned our client’s claim to Gulf Coast Claims Services (GCCS), one of several adjusting firms that have sprouted to service the foreign, absentee insurance market led by Lloyd’s. Although Texas law provides that an insurer has a “non-delegable duty” to responsibly handle claims, delegate is precisely what foreign insurance entities like Lloyd’s do on a regular basis.

Lloyd’s utilized its preferred vendor, GCCS, to handle adjustment of the claim on its behalf. GCCS’s adjustment was disorganized, rife with delays, and left many of the plaintiff’s questions unanswered. The plaintiff hired its own representative to assist with the claims process, but GCCS’s adjusters continuously ignored the plaintiff’s representative in an effort to intentionally mislead the plaintiff about the claims process and ultimately deny the claim.

Lloyd’s Violated the Texas Insurance Code

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failure to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and refusal to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Attorneys 

At Raizner Law, we have extensive experience taking on large insurance companies and obtaining successful outcomes for our clients. If you are a business owner struggling with your insurance company over a Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to contact one of our Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit attorneys to learn your rights.

Tropical Storm Beryl

Tropical Storm Beryl Tested Storm Ravaged Puerto Rico

It’s been over ten months since Hurricane Maria, but the entire island of Puerto Rico is still struggling with recovery. Unfortunately, nothing can stop the 2018 hurricane season and Puerto Rico has already been tested by one tropical storm early on in the season.

Meteorologists closely watched Tropical Storm Beryl because of its path toward Puerto Rico. On Saturday, July 7, 2018, the National Hurricane Center issued its first warning about the storm. While tropical storms are not always cause for concern, Puerto Rico remains extremely vulnerable after Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Hurricane Maria caused significant damage to the island’s infrastructure, and as a result thousands of Puerto Ricans remain without power now, even almost a year later. To make matters worse, many Puerto Ricans don’t currently have homes that can stand up to hurricanes and other storms. Many roofs are still covered by plastic tarps and some buildings still have unrepaired major structural damage, including missing walls, as the insurance industry has been slow to make necessary claims payments.

Slow Recovery

Despite ten months of effort, Puerto Rico still has a long road to recovery. Damage to the island’s roads and highways, in addition to its power grid, is still creating huge barriers to recovery. The biggest obstacle to Puerto Rico’s full recovery from Hurricane Maria has been the slow response from insurance companies to pay out on legitimate claims. Without receiving insurance claims payouts, property owners don’t have the money to begin repairs. The slow action from insurance companies has actually violated Puerto Rican insurance law, and in response the Commissioner of Insurance, Javier Rivera, issued a whopping 2,587 violation orders to six different insurers. These violation orders also came with over $2 million in fines. Unfortunately, the fines have not helped speed up recovery.

Heading Into Hurricane Season

Because Puerto Rico remains extremely vulnerable, the 2018 Hurricane season could cause further devastation. Puerto Ricans have the legal right to have their insurance claims handled in a timely manner, but insurance companies are simply refusing. The only way to force an insurance company’s hand is to file a bad faith insurance lawsuit. With the help of an experienced insurance attorney, policyholders can get what they are rightfully entitled to under their policies.

Raizner Law Now Helping Hurricane Maria Victims

Raizner Law is now helping commercial property owners in Puerto Rico with their Hurricane Maria insurance claims. There is no upfront cost for working with us, and our consultations are free. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Claims

Victoria Motel Owner Files Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania LLP has filed a Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit against Rockhill Insurance Company on behalf of a Victoria motel owner after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Hurricane Harvey Devastates Texas

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey, recognized as one of the most devastating natural disasters in United States history, made landfall on the Texas coast near the property as a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Because of Hurricane Harvey’s extreme wind speed when it hit Victoria County where the motel is located, the property suffered catastrophic damage. Sizable portions of the property’s roof were compromised, and as a result, there was interior damage to the HVAC system, drywall, and flooring.

Immediately after the storm, the plaintiff promptly notified its agent and filed a claim with Rockhill, alerting them to the extensive damages. The plaintiff hired a consultant to assist with the task of determining the extent of the property damage. The plaintiff promptly cooperated with Rockhill’s requests for inspections and additional, extensive requests for documentation related to the business’ income loss as a result of Harvey.

In response to the claim, Rockhill appointed an internal adjuster in Florida to handle the file. This adjuster was inadequately trained and refused to perform a competent investigation. Rockhill’s internal adjuster coordinated on the claim with a known insurer-friendly consulting group who did not inspect the property until late October. The consulting group determined the damage was related to Harvey’s extreme winds, but despite this, Rockhill continued to delay resolution of the claim and instead looked for issues with the wear and tear of the property to avoid paying out.

Rockhill issued several undisputed payments, but these amounts nowhere near cover the damages caused by Harvey. To this day, Rockhill has continued to decline payment for damages covered under the policy.

Rockhill Operated In Bad Faith

Rockhill failed to attempt to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, which is a violation of the Texas Insurance Code. Additionally, Rockhill misrepresented the insurance policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff, by making an untrue statement of material fact.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Claims

If you are still struggling with your insurance company over your commercial property insurance claim after Hurricane Harvey, Raizner Slania LLP can help. We are a local law firm taking on large insurance companies and getting policyholders what they deserve under their policies. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Concussion Injury Lawyer

Former University of Alabama Defensive End Describes Living With The Long-Term Effects of Concussions

It’s been a long time since Les Williams stepped foot on a football field, but the effects of his time playing for the University of Alabama are impossible to forget. Williams suffers from a variety of complications caused by repeated impacts to the head sustained during play, but he’s far from alone. Thousands of former collegiate football players are struggling with the long-term effects of concussions.

Daily Struggles

Williams played for the University of Alabama as a defensive end in the early 2000s. Since his time playing football, he has struggled to hold a job because of his symptoms. He suffers from constant headaches, memory loss, depression, and mood swings. Williams was never warned or prepared for the serious neurological conditions he and many other former football players are now experiencing.

Williams can remember several hits he believes caused significant brain damage. One was in 2002 when he slammed into a punter during a game against Southern Mississippi University. His head “rang” as he jogged over the bench, and he recalled thinking something wasn’t right. In another instance, he suffered a head-to-head collision during practice that caused him to lose vision in his left eye for about 30 seconds and caused the entire left side of his body to go numb.

Hundreds of former players, including Williams, want answers from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA is charged with protecting student athletes and their wellbeing, but despite this responsibility, the NCAA did not discuss the long-term consequences of concussions with players or institute protocols that could have lessened the damage.

Permanent Damage

Unfortunately for Williams and others, concussive and sub-concussive hits to the head and brain do more damage than the initial impact. When brain cells die, they release a toxic protein that actually causes more brain cell death in surrounding cells. There is no way to stop the release of this protein or reverse its effects. This can cause many different degenerative neurological conditions, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s, among others.

Get Help From An Experienced Concussion Injury Lawyer

At Raizner Slania LLP, our experienced concussion injury lawyers are representing former NCAA football players in lawsuits to obtain compensation. Call us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.