Category: Hurricane Harvey Claims

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit

Houston Commercial Property Owner Files Harvey Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a bad faith Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Houston commercial property owner against State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Hurricane Harvey Devastates Texas

The plaintiff owns ten different commercial properties across Harris County and Fort Bend County. When Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas beginning on August 25, 2017, the plaintiff’s properties suffered significant wind damage from the storm. Immediately upon discovering the damage across its properties, the plaintiff filed wind insurance claims with State Auto and asked the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the insurance policy.

State Auto’s claims-handling process resulted in wrongful denials that omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious wind damage, and meteorological data from Hurricane Harvey supporting the plaintiff’s claims. State Auto unreasonably pinned the loss on anything but the wind, an action designed to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims payouts for damages to the properties and the businesses.

State Auto assigned a claims adjuster to handle the claims who was located in Ohio. The adjuster was unqualified, incapable of adequately assessing the property damage, and was the source of many delays throughout the claims process. After inspecting the properties, State Auto and the adjuster continued to delay claim resolution and ignored the plaintiff’s requests for updates.

According to the adjuster, the plaintiff’s claims were denied on the basis of finding “no wind/storm related damages to the building” on nine out of the ten properties. This conclusion was based on an outcome-oriented investigation aimed at denying the plaintiff’s claims from the outset. State Auto, its adjusters, and consultants ignored obvious catastrophic wind damage to the properties, and refused to consider Harvey’s considerable winds were the source of the damage. The claims adjustment process was unnecessarily complicated, disorganized, and conducted behind closed doors until State Auto ultimately wrongfully refused to compensate the plaintiff for any of the obvious covered damages under its policy.

State Auto Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate the prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, refusing to pay claims without conducting a reasonable investigation, and misrepresentation of the policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Law is proud to represent Hurricane Harvey victims. We are a local Houston law firm, so we know the struggles faced by our clients firsthand. If you have a Hurricane Harvey wind damage claim and your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or outright denied your claim, call 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.

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.

Hurricane Damage Insurance Lawyers

Will We See More Storms Like Hurricane Harvey?

Hurricane Harvey was a unique storm. While the Gulf Coast is no stranger to catastrophic hurricanes, Harvey’s lasting legacy wasn’t in its Category 4 winds, but its relentless rainfall. And, according to a recent study, Texas could see more hurricanes like Harvey in the near future.

Hurricanes Are Slowing Down

Harvey was able to drop unprecedented amounts of rainfall because the storm stalled over Southeast Texas. According to a study published in the journal Nature, hurricanes are actually slowing down, meaning Texas could see more storms like Harvey. According to the study, tropical cyclones have decreased their speed by an average of 10% worldwide since 1949. That might not seem like much, but storms in the North Atlantic have actually slowed down more than the global average. North Atlantic storms like Harvey have decreased in speed by an average of 20%.

Slow Moving Storms

As witnessed with Harvey, slow moving storms can cause billions of dollars in damage. These storms are dropping more rainfall and causing more damage as they hover over areas for longer periods of time. For Houstonians, it’s hard to imagine Harvey’s unprecedented rainfall could become the new normal, but that might be the case.

Can Houston Withstand Another Storm Like Harvey?

Houston experienced widespread flooding during Hurricane Harvey and many of the reservoirs breached their banks. This was the case for the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. Homeowners in these areas had no idea their homes were located in dry reservoirs until they were flooded under many feet of water. The pressure behind the Addicks and Barker dams was so great, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to begin controlled releases to prevent catastrophic failure of the dams. The controlled dam releases flooded thousands of Houston homes downstream and upstream of the reservoirs. Although Houston is investing money into flood mitigation, the 2018 hurricane season has already begun. Just one storm this season could drench Houston in Harvey-like rainfall.

Hurricane Damage Insurance Lawyers

Raizner Slania LLP is a local Houston law firm that helps Houstonians rebuild after hurricanes. Insurance companies are often dishonest when handling large claims, so by partnering with our hurricane damage insurance lawyers, you can be sure you will get the most out of your policy. If your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or denied your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim, contact us today for a free consultation.

Hurricane Harvey Damage Report

Harris County Flood Control District Releases Final Hurricane Harvey Damage Report

It’s been nearly a year since Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston and the rest of the Texas coast, and many are still recovering While all hurricanes cause significant damage, Harvey was particularly unique in that the storm stalled soon after it made landfall and dropped an unprecedented amount of rainfall. The Harris County Flood Control District has been working to collect and analyze data and recently released its final report on flood damage.

Unprecedented Rainfall

From August 25 through August 29, 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped between 26 and 47 inches of rain across Harris County. This represents a trillion gallons of water. If you’re wondering just how much a trillion gallons of water is, it’s enough water to run Niagara Falls for 15 whole days.

According to the Harris County Flood Control District, this much water flooded 154,170 homes across Harris County, which is about 9% to 12% of the total number of buildings in the entire county. This number is particularly devastating considering nearly half of all of the homes flooded were outside of both the 100 and 500 year floodplains. After unprecedented rainfall, Hurricane Harvey ended up being the second-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, right behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

Reservoir Flooding

With such large amounts of rainfall during and after Hurricane Harvey, Houston’s reservoirs and bayous quickly filled up and started flooding. In particular, the Addicks and Barker reservoirs caused catastrophic flooding to homes and businesses both upstream and downstream of the reservoirs. Property owners upstream of these reservoirs had no idea they were located in Addicks and Barker dry reservoirs and were shocked to learn land developers built homes in these dangerous areas. Properties downstream of the reservoirs also suffered serious flooding when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to begin controlled dam releases to reduce the amount of pressure on the dams and prevent total failure.

Still Recovering After Hurricane Harvey

It’s going to take several more years for Houston to completely recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey. Raizner Slania LLP is a local Houston law firm helping Hurricane Harvey victims with a wide variety of claims. If your insurance company is denying your Hurricane Harvey property damage claim, or if your property was flooded by the reservoirs, contact us today to learn your legal options.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim

Houston Is About To Get $1 Billion In FEMA Funding, But It’s Not Nearly Enough

It’s been nearly ten months since Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, but complete recovery is still a long way away. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has promised Houston recovery funds, but according to estimates the amount won’t be anywhere near enough.

The city of Houston released an action plan and summary last week that detailed exactly how the city will spend over $1 billion in FEMA long-term housing aid. Although $1 billion is by no means a meager sum, according to FEMA’s own estimates, this represents less than one-third of what Houston still needs to recover. According to the City of Houston, even after receiving $1 billion of FEMA funds, the city will still have an “unmet housing need” of approximately $2.3 billion.

As staggering as an additional $2.3 billion is, many argue that estimate severely underestimates the needs of displaced Houstonians. To better gauge where Hurricane Harvey victims are in the recovery process, the General Land Office and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are extensively surveying counties declared disaster areas. Researchers want to know whether victims are still displaced and exactly how much damage remains to be fixed in their homes.

While FEMA helps provide immediate and short-term housing options for victims displaced by natural disasters, there are far fewer long-term options. Rebuilding homes and businesses could take years, and many victims can feel forgotten and hopeless as news coverage and community support slowly fades.

Insurance Companies Slowing Down Recovery

Some Houstonians were fortunate enough to have property insurance to cover the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, surplus lines insurers dominate the Texas commercial property insurance market, and these carriers are in no hurry to pay out on claims. A surplus lines insurer is not really an insurance company – it’s more like a file cabinet. Insurers enter into insurance contracts with foreign entities not licensed to operate in Texas. These foreign entities don’t have offices in the state or often in the entire country. They collect insurance premiums, but when it comes time to process and handle claims, there’s no one to do it. These foreign entities then rely on third party claims adjusters who are incentivized to minimize the value of insurance claims as much as possible. In the end, the policyholders are left hung out to dry with grossly underpaid or downright denied claims.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim

Although state and federal agencies are still struggling to understand the full extent of the impact Harvey had on the city, Houstonians understand it all to well. Many of our homes remain uninhabitable and businesses have yet to reopen their doors. Raizner Slania LLP is a local Houston law firm representing Hurricane Harvey victims in a wide array of insurance claims. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.