It’s been nearly a year since golf ball sized hail pelted areas of Laredo, Texas, but business owners are still struggling with the storm’s aftermath. Hail causes significant damage to anything in its path, and with many surplus lines insurers operating in a grey area of the Texas insurance market, policyholders are caught between insurance companies wrongfully denying claims and hail damage they can’t afford to fix themselves.
May 2017 Hail Storm
While hail is not an uncommon occurrence in Texas, the hail storm that swept through Laredo on May 21, 2017, was unique in its duration. The storm produced hail for nearly two hours. A maximum hail size was reported at 2.75 inches, but on average the hail was 1.83 inches in diameter. The storm covered a wide area, affecting approximately 38,562 buildings in Laredo and Zapata, Texas. Weather stations measured the storm’s wind gusts up to 56 miles per hour, meaning buildings were being showered with golf ball sized hail.
Laredo’s Mayor quickly declared the city a disaster area after the storm. In order to declare a city a disaster area, damages must exceed $900,000; but in this case, the damage to the World Trade Bridge in Laredo alone is estimated to be approximately $1 million.
How Hail Damage Claims Are Wrongfully Denied
Hail damage claims are particularly painful for insurance companies, often causing billions of dollars in payouts each year. However, insurance companies are first and foremost a business, which means anytime an area is damaged by a hail storm, insurance companies are quick to minimize claims.
Although hail damage might seem obvious, there are several ways insurance companies might try to release themselves from liability. An insurance company might claim the alleged hail damage isn’t actually hail damage but damage caused by the regular wear and tear caused over time. Insurance companies might also try to blame the damage on inadequate maintenance to the property, faulty construction, and/or manufacturing defects of the damaged components.
What This Means For Policyholders
The bad faith tactics used by many insurance companies to wrongfully deny or underpay claims put an extreme burden on policyholders. Many will be forced to pay out of pocket for repairs their insurance company should have covered. Policyholders need to understand that they have rights. If you have regularly paid your premium, you are entitled to full compensation under your policy.
Laredo Hail Damage Claims
If your business was damaged in the Laredo hail storm last May and you are still struggling with your insurance company, you need to immediately call Raizner Slania LLP. Don’t let your insurance company delay, deny, or underpay your claim. We can help with your Laredo hail damage claims and get you the compensation you are entitled to.