Category: Hurricane Harvey Claims

Hurricane Harvey Claim

Harris County Approves New Flood Plain Maps, But Will They Come Too Late?

Harris County learned a devastating lesson during Hurricane Harvey, when widespread flooding destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Property owners learned too late that the maps outlining Houston’s flood plains were wildly out of date – and they were in the storm’s line of fire for flooding. Harris County is working to update these maps, but will they come too late for property owners?

Out Of Date Flood Maps

Flood maps utilize rainfall data to help predict the likelihood of flooding. Flood plain maps help determine where homes are allowed to be built, the cost of flood insurance, and locations for flood control projects. Unfortunately, some areas of the Harris County flood map hadn’t been updated with rainfall data since 2001. To address the outdated maps, Harris County has committed $14.5 million to update the county’s flood plain maps. The county has accepted $6.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help pay for the new maps and will be contributing $8 million of its own funds.

Although funds have been set aside for new flood plain maps, many are worried they won’t be available fast enough to help Houstonians. The maps are currently scheduled to be completed in 2023. This means Harris County residents will have to face at least four more hurricane seasons without updated flood information. While the city has been spared by any catastrophic storms so far this hurricane season, there’s no telling if we will get this lucky in the years to come.

Houston Still Struggling Through Recovery

While some affected by Hurricane Harvey have been able to rebuild completely, others are still struggling. Homes flooded by the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs dam releases are still waiting for their day in court with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Many other property owners are fighting with insurance companies over damages.

Have Questions About A Hurricane Harvey Claim?

If you are struggling with your insurance company over your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim or if the Addicks or Barker reservoirs flooded your home, contact Raizner Law today. We are proud to represent Hurricane Harvey victims and their families and help them rebuild. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Reservoir Claim

Study Finds 100-Year Rain Events Will Strike Houston More Often

We use terms like “100-year events” to help understand the likelihood of certain weather events. However, they really only work if they’re accurate. According to new research, Houston needs to be prepared for more rain events. This is particularly concerning considering Houston has not been able to make much progress in flood mitigation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

100-Year Rain Events

A 100-year rain event can be thought of in two ways: (1) the rain event on average would occur once every one hundred years or (2) the rain event has a 1% chance of happening every year. A 1% chance is pretty low, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Houston’s 100-year rain events are occurring more frequently.

A 100-year rain event can drop 13 inches of water in a 24-hour period. According to a study by NOAA, these events are closer to a 25-year event. This means that in any given year, there is a 25% chance a rain event will drop 13 inches of rain in 24 hours. Those chances are a lot worse.

The increase in rain events led the NOAA to redefine 100-year rain events for the Houston area – they are now defined by rainfall of up to 18 inches in 24 hours.

Hurricane Harvey Drops Unprecedented Rainfall

NOAA’s updating of 100-year flood events isn’t surprising for Texans who withstood Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. The National Hurricane Center determined the flooding brought on by Hurricane Harvey was greater than a 1,000-year event, the highest level that’s ever been calculated. Regardless of the odds, Hurricane Harvey happened and Houston – as well as the rest of Texas – wasn’t prepared.

Two of Houston’s reservoirs, the Addicks and Barker reservoirs, were unable to hold the rainfall dropped by Hurricane Harvey. Not only did these reservoirs fill nearly to full capacity, causing flooding of thousands of homes, but controlled releases were needed to prevent catastrophic dam failure which caused flooding downstream. Houstonians can expect future rain events to cause serious property damage and the city isn’t prepared.

Get Help With Your Reservoir Claim

Houston residents upstream and downstream of the reservoirs released in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey saw first hand how unprepared Houston was for a catastrophic rain event. If the Addicks or Barker reservoir flooded your home, contact Raizner Law today. We can help explain your legal options and pursue compensation.

Hurricane Claim

How The Hurricane Category System Can Be Misleading

As a result of recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence, most people are pretty familiar with the hurricane category system. In about a year’s time, these four storms have wreaked havoc on the communities they hit. In light of these storms, many are concerned the hurricane category system can be misleading and promote a false sense of security.

How Are Hurricanes Measured?

The National Hurricane Center and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) use the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This scale rates hurricanes from 1 to 5 based on maximum sustained wind speed. Categories 3 and above are considered major hurricanes, although Category 1 and 2 hurricanes can still be extremely dangerous. The wind speeds for each hurricane category are:

  • Category 1 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 74-95 mph
  • Category 2 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 96-110 mph
  • Category 3 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 111-129 mph
  • Category 4 – Maximum Sustained Winds from 130-156 mph
  • Category 5 – Maximum Sustained Winds of 157 mph or higher

What The Category Rating System Doesn’t Measure

While winds can definitely be dangerous and can help predict the damage inflicted by a hurricane, winds alone cannot predict the entire picture of looming hurricane damage. The category rating system doesn’t measure rainfall or storm surge, which can easily prove more dangerous than wind speeds. Both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence unleashed relentless rainfall after coming ashore. This rainfall caused massive flooding that not only caused billions of dollars in damage, but also claimed the lives of dozens of people.

Many are calling for an updated hurricane rating system that would help better communicate a storm’s true danger. While a new rating system could help in the future, it does little for hurricane victims that have already suffered damage. It’s been over a year since both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria and homeowners and business owners along the Texas coast and across the island of Puerto Rico are still trying to rebuild after unprecedented flooding and storm damage.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Claim Today

Rebuilding after a hurricane takes time, but insurance companies operating in bad faith often slow the process down further. If your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or denied your insurance claim, contact Raizner Law today.

Hurricane Harvey Victims

Some Hurricane Harvey Victims Still Face Obstacles To Rebuild

While it’s been over a year since Hurricane Harvey made landfall off the Texas coast, for many, it seems like it was just yesterday. Texans know firsthand how slow the rebuilding process has been, and it is far from over. Although much progress has been made toward helping affected areas recover, there is still much left to be done. Unfortunately, Houston remains extremely vulnerable to flooding should another storm come its way.

Changes In Harvey’s Aftermath

The City of Houston and Harris County updated building code requirements to include higher structure elevations on floodplains. While this is no help to victims whose homes have already flooded, it will help prevent additional flooding in the future. To address flood mitigation, Harris County had a special election regarding a $2.5 billion flood mitigation plan to get it onto the November ballot. Additionally, earlier this year Congress included mitigation funding in its spending bills; however, it remains unclear how funds will be allocated among hurricane-devastated states such as Texas and Florida.

While this funding is absolutely needed, it can’t come fast enough. The city needs large-scale projects like the creation of a third reservoir and the creation of more surface detention, but the funds have yet to materialize so these crucial projects have not even begun. This is especially concerning as we are in the midst of an active hurricane season.

Struggling To Rebuild

Many Houstonians are still struggling to rebuild. The litigation regarding homes flooded by the a is still ongoing; and, for buildings that suffered wind damage, many insurance companies are causing unnecessary delays and wrongfully denying claims. This has made rebuilding very difficult financially. The financial hardship has been felt especially hard by business owners, who have seen substantial losses in revenue due to damaged buildings and costly repairs.

Raizner Law Is Proud To Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Business owners who sustained damage due to Hurricane Harvey have a remedy. Raizner Law is working with scores of Hurricane Harvey victims, both in the Addicks and Barker reservoirs litigation and with wind damage claims. We are experienced insurance lawyers that know how evaluate damages and work with experts to get you complete compensation to cover the cost of damages. There is no upfront cost for working with us. We offer free consultations and you won’t owe us anything unless we help you recover compensation. Contact us today.

Hurricane Harvey wind damage insurance lawsuit

Katy, Texas Motel Owner Files Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Katy, Texas Motel owner against Arch Specialty Insurance Company after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied.

The plaintiff owns and operates a two-story motel in Katy, Texas that houses a lobby, 200 guest rooms, and laundry facilities. On August 25, 2017, one of the most devastating storms in United States history, Hurricane Harvey, came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Harvey had wind speeds up to 150 miles per hour. As a result of these extreme winds, Harvey caused significant damage to the plaintiff’s motel. Sizable portions of the property’s roof were compromised by wind, which caused further damage to the interiors, including the windows, drywall, insulation, and flooring.

Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Arch and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy. Arch utilized a preferred vendor to inspect the property on September 7, 2017. Arch denied the claim on December 10, 2017. According to the preferred the vendor for Arch, the claim was denied on the basis that “the roof system and building envelope did not sustain wind damage, which would have allowed water to enter. Further, the water entry is a direct result of water entering in the building through already present deficiencies in the roof and envelope systems.” To date, Arch has refused to pay for the property damage. As a result of Arch’s unreasonable denial, the plaintiff has suffered extreme economic hardship.

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 pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, and misrepresentation of the policy under which it affords coverage to the plaintiff.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Even a year after Harvey’s landfall, many business owners are still struggling to put their lives back together. If your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or outright denied your Hurricane Harvey wind damage claim, Raizner Law can help. We are experienced insurance lawyers who are already helping hundreds of policyholders with their Hurricane Harvey wind damage insurance lawsuits. Call us today to schedule a free appointment with one of our lawyers to discuss your Hurricane Harvey wind damage insurance lawsuit.

Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawsuit

Raizner Law Files Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawsuit One Year After The Storm

One year after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, Raizner Law has filed a Harvey wind damage lawsuit on behalf of a Houston condominium complex owner against AmRisc LLC, Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, QBE Specialty Insurance Company, Steadfast Insurance Company, General Security Indemnity Company of Arizona, United Specialty Insurance Company, Lexington Insurance Company, and the International Insurance Company of Hannover SE.

The insurance carriers, through the program design and management of AmRisc, sold a commercial property policy the plaintiff whereby the carriers would provide insurance coverage for the property. On August 26, 2018, Hurricane Harvey reached Houston and caused devastating damage. Hurricane Harvey damaged the roofing system, drywall, flooring, and other parts of the property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed a claim with the carriers and asked 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, AmRisc, on behalf of all carriers, assigned the claims to a third party adjusting firm. In turn, the third party adjusting firm assigned the claim to its internal adjuster. The internal adjuster conducted an unreasonable and inadequate investigation. The claim process, inspections, and results were continuously delayed starting the day the claim was made. The carriers, Amrisc, and their agents reassigned the claim to different adjusters, refused to provide the insured with answers, ignored obvious damages at the property, and misrepresented policy benefits, all while the property sat in disrepair and they refused to issue any payments whatsoever.

Nearly two months after Hurricane Harvey hit, the internal adjuster performed a haphazard inspection of the property. Without relying on any qualified consultants whatsoever, the third party adjusting firm and its internal adjuster valued the hotel’s damages at $8,897.93, a number well below the policy deductible. The carriers relied on these findings and willfully refused to do their own investigation to verify the obvious damages. The carriers, AmRisc, and the third party adjusting firm all failed to pay or adjust the claim appropriately after liability was reasonably clear. Over the next several months, the claim was delayed under the guise of “additional investigation,” aimed at ultimately denying the plaintiff’s claim despite obvious evidence to the contrary. The carriers and AmRisc continued to bounce the claim around internally while refusing to provide answers to the plaintiff regarding covered damages. The carriers eventually wrongly denied the Hurricane Harvey commercial property damage insurance claim.

Violating 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, refusal to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, and failure to affirm or deny coverage of a claim to a policyholder within a reasonable time.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawsuit

It’s been just over a year since Hurricane Harvey devastated much of Texas, but many property owners are still struggling to rebuild because insurance companies aren’t paying out on valid claims. Get help with your Hurricane Harvey wind damage lawsuit today. Call Raizner Law for a free consultation to see how we can help.