Category: Hurricane Harvey Claims

Aetna

Trump Administration May Use Hurricane Harvey Recovery Funds To Build Border Wall

As President Donald Trump considers declaring a state of national emergency in order to build the border wall, certain organizations have been asked to prepare for this scenario. The White House has told the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to examine its budget and determine what funds can be redirected from its emergency fund. This emergency fund is comprised of $13.8 billion dollars that has been set aside to fund over 50 disaster relief projects in California, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Large portions of this fund are designated to aid Texans suffering from damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and Puerto Ricans suffering from damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

Although it has been a year since both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria made landfall, neither Texas nor Puerto Rico has reached a full recovery. Both storms caused billions of dollars in damage and millions more will be needed to undertake flood-control projects to prevent catastrophic flooding from recurring. Specifically in Houston, flood-control projects aim to widen and deepen Clear Creek, Hunting Bayou, Brays Bayou, and White Oak Bayou.

Victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria are struggling enough with rebuilding. The use of their designated emergency funds on anything other than hurricane recovery would be a serious blow. Insurance companies have been both extremely slow to process and pay out on hurricane property damage claims and utilizing bad faith tactics to deny valid claims. The Puerto Rico Commissioner of Insurance has already levied millions of dollars in fines against insurance companies for their inaction, but policyholders are still reporting outstanding claims and wrongful denials.

Although President Trump has stated he does not plan on declaring a state of emergency in the next few days, the option to do so still looms overhead for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria victims. A major loss in funding could bring an already slow recovery to a screeching halt.

Representing Hurricane Victims

There are many challenges facing hurricane victims. Raizner Law is proudly representing both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria victims in a variety of lawsuits to get the compensation they deserve and need to rebuild. If you suffered property damage during a hurricane, contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Attorneys 

New Program Aims To Help Struggling Hurricane Harvey Victims

While most people are getting ready for the holiday season, many Hurricane Harvey victims remain working on their recovery. While many Hurricane Harvey victims may feel forgotten, a new program from the Texas General Land Office designed to help victims reach a full recovery has allocated $1 billion in federal grants to help Texans rebuild.

The new program is accepting applications from 48 different counties to help rebuild and repair owner-occupied single family homes damaged during Harvey. The counties have been divided into six regions, and each region will receive a portion of the $1 billion based on need. The East/Gulf Coast region will receive the largest portion of the funding because it was hit particularly hard by the storm. Counties in this region include Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, and Walker counties. The West/Lower Colorado Region and the Southeast Texas Region are also receiving large portions of the funds because they were in the path of the storm.

Eligibility criteria for assistance includes owning a home in one of the 48 designated counties that suffered damage from Hurricane Harvey and utilizing the property as a primary residence, among other requirements. The Texas General Land Office will determine eligibility for financial assistance within two weeks of receiving an application, but determining the amount of assistance will require additional time.

Victims Left Behind

While there are numerous aid programs in place to help hurricane victims recover, the reality is the state of Texas has received less total aid than the amount of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. This means many victims will get left behind; however, victims aren’t helpless. Raizner Law is representing victims of the Addicks and Barker reservoir flooding and representing property owners whose Hurricane Harvey insurance claims were underpaid or wrongly denied.

Learn Your Options

Raizner Law offers free consultations to Hurricane Harvey victims to explain their legal options. We only work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no upfront cost for working with us, and you will not owe us anything unless we help you obtain compensation. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.

Hurricane Harvey Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Houston Commercial Property Owner Files Hurricane Harvey Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit on behalf of a commercial property owner in Houston, Texas against Twin City Fire Insurance Company after its insurance company was wrongfully denied.

The property is a one-story commercial building with 12,214 square feet of interior space. Unfortunately, on August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey swept through Houston, Texas and caused significant damage to the property. Sizable portions of the building’s roof and exterior were compromised, causing damage to the interior of the property, including the ceilings and insulation. Immediately after the storm, the plaintiff alerted Twin City of the damage and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to its policy.

Twin City’s claims-handling process resulted in a wrongful denial that omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious wind damage, and meteorological data from Hurricane Harvey supporting the plaintiff’s claim. Twin City unreasonably pinned the loss on anything but the wind, an action designed to save the insurer hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims payouts for Hurricane Harvey property damage and business interruption.

Specifically, just days after Harvey ravaged the property and the claim was submitted, on September 6, 2017, Twin City had already written off the plaintiff’s claim and issued a preliminary denial letter that offered no reasonable explanation of the facts underlying the denial and that failed to tie any relevant facts to the three pages of policy provisions cited by Twin City. Remarkably, after citing various exclusions and ignoring the relevant coverage, the letter claims no lost business income will be issued under the policy because the shutdown of the plaintiff’s business “was not due to direct physical damage by a covered cause of loss.”

Weeks after the plaintiff submitted the claim, on September 24, 2017, a “damage specialist”, inspected the property to determine the “cause of loss” that resulted from Harvey’s hurricane-force wind and water. Days later, on October 4, 2017, another denial letter was issued which was seemingly identical to the prior denial issued just days after the storm. Again, however, Twin City refused to acknowledge the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey in the midst of the catastrophe. Twin City did not prepare any scopes or estimates of damages and/or refused to provide them to the insured.

The plaintiff was forced to hire its own consultants to assess the damage properly and provide their own estimates of damages to Twin City in the face of the company’s refusal to do so. After Twin City ignored its obligations, forcing the plaintiff to demand the company reassess the damages, another inspection took place on June 19, 2018 by a preferred vendor. This inspection also ignored obvious and extensive damages Harvey caused to the property and was conducted with the intent to simply rubber stamp the prior denial of the plaintiff’s claim for a second time. The inspectors were not qualified to assess the type of damages to a commercial property like the one at issue and, as a result, the inspections were haphazard, rushed, and incomplete. Twin City ultimately denied the plaintiff’s claim.

Twin City 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 adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of the claim, and refusal to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Filling Your Hurricane Harvey Damage Insurance Lawsuit

Insurance companies have been reluctant to pay out on valid claims in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. If your Hurricane Harvey claim is being denied or undervalued, contact Raizner Law today to see how we can help you obtain your rightful compensation under your policy.

Building reduced to a pile of wood as a result of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Portland, Texas Hotel Owner Files Lawsuit After Wrongful Denial Of Hurricane Harvey Claim

Raizner Law has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Portland, Texas hotel owner against Palomar Specialty Insurance Company after its Hurricane Harvey insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Our client owns and operates a four-story hotel situated on 147,668 square feet of land with 17,324 square feet of interior space and a 1,440 square foot canopy. The building houses guest rooms, meeting/reception areas, office space, and kitchen facilities. On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane. Within the same area as the subject property, wind gusts were recorded as high as 132 miles per hour; and, the National Weather Service has stated these wind speeds are likely underestimated in coastal areas, such as San Patricio County, due to disabled equipment at the time of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall.

As a result of Harvey’s extreme winds and rain when it hit Portland, Texas and specifically the subject property, the hotel was substantially damaged. Sizeable portions of its roof were compromised by wind, which caused additional damage to the interior, including damaged ceilings, walls, and flooring. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Palomar and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

In response, Palomar assigned the claim to an internal adjuster that was unqualified and incapable of adequately assessing the damages to the property. After utilizing a preferred vendor to inspect the property in September, Palomar and the adjuster continued to delay claim resolution and ignored the insured’s requests for updates. The plaintiff continued to press Palomar for updates – or any estimate of damages after their inspection – but they declined and ignored the requests.

Months after the inspections and after the plaintiff continuously pressed Palomar and the internal adjuster for updates, the internal adjuster responded to the plaintiff’s representative’s request for a copy of the revised estimate by simply stating “Not until I receive authority. Sorry.” The internal adjuster then followed up with more requests for repair documentation. To this day, due to Palomar’s outcome-oriented, inadequate, and haphazard investigation, Palomar has refused to fully pay for the damages covered under the policy.

Palomar Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges Palomar violated numerous sections of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of the claim, failure to provide promptly a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and refusing to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Get Help Against Insurers Acting in Bad Faith

Insurance companies have no right to regularly accept your premium payments, but not provide the coverage promised. If your insurance company is delaying, undervaluing, or denying your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim, contact Raizner Law today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

Hartford Fire Insurance

Raizner Law Files Hurricane Harvey Damage Lawsuit Against Hartford Fire Insurance Company

Raizner Law has filed a Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit on behalf of a commercial property owner against Hartford Fire Insurance Company after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas Law.

The plaintiff owns three one-story commercial properties in Houston, Texas, totaling 66,350 square feet of combined interior space. Unfortunately, on August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey came ashore along the Texas coast and caused widespread devastation. When Hurricane Harvey swept through Houston and specifically the plaintiff’s properties, it caused significant damage. Sizeable portions of the properties’ roofs and exterior were compromised, which in turn caused interior damage to ceilings, insulation, and flooring.

Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Hartford and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy. Hartford’s claims-handling process resulted in a wrongful denial that omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious wind damages, and meteorological data from Hurricane Harvey supporting the plaintiff’s claim.

Hartford conducted inspections that ignored obvious and extensive damages from Hurricane Harvey at the properties and were conducted with the intent to simply deny the claim. The inspectors were not qualified to assess the commercial property damages, and as a result, the inspections were haphazard, rushed, and incomplete. Hartford unreasonably stated in its reports that “the roofs had not been damaged by Harvey and no other storm-caused opening existed” in an effort to avoid contractual responsibilities and to save Hartford significant sums of money.

Hartford Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges Hartford violated numerous sections of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, refusal to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, and misrepresentation of the insurance policy under which it affords coverage. Our client also claims Hartford violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Get Help With Your Hartford Insurance Claim

If you are struggling with a Hartford insurance claim or any other Hurricane Harvey insurance claim, contact Raizner Law today. We help policyholders protect their rights and get the compensation they are rightfully owed under their policies. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Hurricane Harvey Damage Report

New Data Could Help Find Overlooked Hurricane Harvey Victims

It’s been over a year since Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast, and many people are still in the process of rebuilding. Part of the difficulty in rebuilding is identifying areas damaged and the extent of damages. Luckily for Hurricane Harvey victims, the city is utilizing new data and modeling to help find overlooked victims to provide them with aid needed to complete recovery.

New Data and Models

To understand Harvey’s devastation, the city of Houston is turning to advanced modeling. The city is using a wide range of data regarding Harvey, including meteorological data, and combining it with the city’s environmental information. Then, an analytics company called Civis Analytics runs that data through predictive models. The models are able to recreate the storm so researchers can zoom in on all areas of the city that were affected and examine the damage in detail, something that is impossible to do in real-time as a storm is occurring.

How New Data Can Help

Previous to this method, the damage done by a storm was measured by applications for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA. This method has some serious shortcomings, including the fact that the agency only considers “verified losses,” which means the damages must be at least $8,000 for homeowners and $2,000 for renters. Of course, FEMA also has application deadlines, so any victims that miss the deadline aren’t included in FEMA’s estimated cost of the storm. Finally, FEMA also rejects a lot of claims – and those claims don’t end up included in the estimated damages for a natural disaster. For example, after Hurricane Harvey, FEMA rejected more than 182,000 applications.

Simply put, relying on FEMA data to measure the damage wrought by a storm and to identify the areas affected leaves out far too many natural disaster victims. How many exactly? Predictive models found FEMA’s estimate of Hurricane Harvey damages was actually short by $3 billion dollars. The city has only been given $1.15 billion from FEMA for recovery so far, which means $1.85 billion is still needed for Houston to recover.

Other Factors Slowing Down Recovery

Accurate data is an important step to helping all of Houston recover, but it isn’t the only obstacle. Insurance companies are using a wide variety of bad faith tactics to wrongfully deny valid Hurricane Harvey insurance claims. Many property owners are still waiting for answers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the catastrophic flooding caused by the Addicks and Barker reservoirs and controlled dam releases.

Raizner Law Is Proudly Supporting Hurricane Harvey Victims

Raizner Law wants to see every Houstonian make a full recovery from Hurricane Harvey. If you are struggling with an insurance company or if your home or business was flooded by the reservoirs, contact us today to see how we can help.