Tag: Hurricane Damage

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.

Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit

Padre Island, Texas Hotel Owner Files Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Padre Island, Texas hotel owner against Greenhill Group LLC, First Specialty Insurance Corporation, Evanston Insurance Company, and Scottsdale Insurance Company. Our client alleges its Hurricane Harvey insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Our client owns a six-story hotel situated on 126,354 square feet of land with 79,810 square feet of interior space. The building is a well-known hotel and conference facility in the Corpus Christi area, and it contains guest rooms, meeting/reception areas, office space, a fitness area, laundry facilities, a restaurant and bar, 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 in San Patricio County and Aransas County as a Category 4 hurricane. Wind gusts of up to 132 miles per hour were reported in the same area as the property. As a result of Harvey’s extreme winds and rain when it hit Nueces County and specifically the property, the hotel suffered substantial damage. Sizeable portions of the property’s roof were compromised by wind, which in turn caused damage to the interior of the property, electrical components, ceilings, flooring, and HVAC.

Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed insurance claims with the carriers. As the primary insurer on the property, First Specialty took the lead during the claims handling process; however, its claims-handling process resulted in wrongful denials and gross underpayments that omitted a wealth of facts, physical evidence, obvious wind damages, and meteorological data from Hurricane Harvey supporting the plaintiff’s claim. First Specialty unreasonably pinned the loss on anything but the wind, an action designed to save the insurance company and the other carriers millions of dollars in damages to the property and the business.

Specifically, First Specialty assigned unqualified consultants and adjusters to handle the claim and ignored damages the adjusters initially accepted. First Specialty retained a preferred vendor to handle the initial adjustment. After an inspection on September 13, 2017, First Specialty’s adjuster verbally confirmed coverage and damages of millions of dollars to the building structure alone; however, those amounts were never paid. Rather, First Specialty sent additional consultants out in order to minimize the claim payout to the plaintiff. On September 20, 2017, additional adjusters were sent to the property and admitted they personally observed substantial Hurricane Harvey wind damage.

Acting with authority on behalf of the carriers, the adjusters conceded that millions of dollars were owed on the claim and verbally offered an undisputed amount to pay the insured’s claim. Despite this legally binding agreement, the carriers reneged on their promise, and continued to delay the claim until its partial denial in May 2018. To this day, the plaintiff has not been properly paid for property damage, and has suffered significant economic hardship not only in the cost of repairs but also in lost business income.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Our client cites numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim and misrepresenting the terms of the policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff. Our client also claims the carriers violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practice Act.

Fighting For Hurricane Harvey Victims

It’s a shame that Hurricane Harvey victims have to fight so hard for the compensation they are rightly entitled to under their insurance policies. Raizner Law is helping Hurricane Harvey victims with bad faith insurance claims. If your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim has been denied or underpaid, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Bad Faith Insurance Denials

Raizner Law Files Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit On Behalf of Harris County Commercial Property Owner

Raizner Law has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Harris County, Texas commercial property owner against Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London after its Hurricane Harvey damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied.

Our client owns a one-story building situated on 21,875 square feet of land with 13,261 square feet of interior space. The building houses several separate businesses. On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey came ashore along the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane. As a result of Hurricane Harvey’s extreme winds and rain, large portions of the property’s roof were damaged. Because the roof was compromised, there was also damage to the interiors, ceilings, walls, and flooring of the property.

Immediately after the storm, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Lloyd’s, asking that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy. Although Texas law provides an insurer has a “non-delegable duty” to responsibly handle claims, Lloyd’s does not have a single employee in Texas so they delegated the claim to a third party administrator.

The third party administrator’s adjustment was disorganized, rife with delays, and left many of the insured’s questions unanswered. The plaintiff hired its own representative to assist with the claims process, but adjusters continuously ignored the plaintiff’s representative in an effort to intentionally mislead the insured about the claims process and ultimately deny the claim.

The third party administrator, its adjusters, and Lloyd’s refused to provide any scopes of damage or answer any questions about the status of the claim, despite the plaintiff’s multiple requests. Additionally, they failed to complete an adequate inspection and refused to acknowledge all the damages to the property. In the denial letter, the third party administrator and Lloyd’s stated the “only portion” of the property damaged by Harvey was a small section of the porch, which fell below the policy’s deductible. While they did acknowledge “extensive water damage” at the property, the companies stated the water damage was a result of “improper roof drainage, age-related deterioration to the roof covering and metal decking and deferred maintenance,” which while boilerplate exclusions under the policy, were not supported by any relevant facts or data.

Lloyd’s Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Lloyd’s violated numerous sections of the Texas Insurance Code, including failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, refusal to pay a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation, and misrepresenting the policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff.

Get Help With Bad Faith Insurance Denials

If you regularly pay your premium, you deserve complete protection under your insurance policy. Insurance companies have no right to issue bad faith insurance denials solely in an effort to help them save money. If your insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact Raizner Law today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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.

Insurance Companies

What Happens to Insurance Companies After A Major Disaster

When a major natural disaster occurs, such as a hurricane, much of our focus is on our families and our own safety. However, insurance companies can take big hits following major disasters, which often send their stock prices into immediate decline. With the aftermaths of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria in the not-so-distant past, it’s important to examine why and how the insurance industry is impacted by large scale natural disasters and what it can mean for overall recovery after these major events.

According to published data about the property and casualty insurance industry, , 2017 had the highest catastrophic losses in recent years, falling between $50 and $125 billion, with losses from 2011 and 2005 rounding out the top three. Hurricane Harvey resulted in losses ranging from $10 to $25 billion and Hurricane Maria resulted in losses up to $48 billion, although these numbers are still being calculated—but what do these losses actually mean?

In the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic event, stock prices for property and casualty insurers can take an initial hit.  But usually, these stock prices lag for the first two to four weeks as investors assess damages and earnings per share adjusts downward. But that doesn’t last long, as a major catastrophe loss tends to mean higher near term premiums. And that expectation of higher premiums tends to drive stock prices back up. Within just a few months, stock prices are often higher than they were before the hurricane or other catastrophe event. The increase in premiums also benefits property and casualty brokers, who also benefit from the higher premiums.

For insurance companies, the profitability of storms isn’t limited to major events. During hurricane season in particular, property and casualty stocks routinely outperform on average, historically rising an average of 3.5 percent since 1993. This also takes into account the average amount of hurricanes that happen each year, with around 18 storms making landfall annually since 1851. The decade of 2000-2010 was particularly notable as it averaged 18 hurricanes per year, including seven major Category 3+ hurricanes making landfall in the United States. Though it might be easy to think 2017 was a busy storm season with Maria and Harvey, only nine land-falling hurricanes occurred between 2011 and 2017.

Though one may think insurance companies are at an overall loss when disaster strikes, they are still businesses who sometimes thrive off of these bad situations. While stock prices may decline in the immediate aftermath, once the disaster claims payouts become certain, premiums begin to rise and the stock price rebounds and actually becomes much higher, reaping more profits for insurance companies. This boon presents a stark contrast to the businesses and families that are left to rebuild.

Get Help With Your Natural Disaster Claim

Although insurance companies face millions of dollars in claims, the reality is that they try to limit payouts as much as possible by utilizing bad faith tactics. When this happens, you need an experienced natural disaster claim lawyer who can hold the insurance company responsible and get you what you are rightly entitled to under your policy. Contact Raizner Law today for a free consultation to discuss your natural disaster claim.

Hurricane Harvey wind damage

Pasadena Strip Mall Owner Files Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawsuit

Raizner Law has filed a Hurricane Harvey wind damage lawsuit on behalf of a Pasadena strip mall owner against Westchester Surplus Lines Insurance Company after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Hurricane Harvey Devastates Texas

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour on August 25, 2017. Hurricane Harvey swept through Pasadena and hit the plaintiff’s property on August 26. The high winds from the storm compromised large potions of the property’s roof, allowing rain to be driven in, causing significant interior damage. There was also significant damage to the insulation, exterior lighting, drywall, paint, flooring, bathroom, lighting, ceilings, and other parts of the property.

Immediately upon discovering the damages, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Westchester alerting them of the damage. Westchester’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. Westchester unreasonably pinned the loss on anything but the wind, an action designed to save Westchester hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the property and the business.

Although Westchester has, to date, provided no clear documentation of its inspection or findings, it denied the claim in full. One Westchester claims specialist based out of Georgia stated the damage was “not the result of storm-created openings but pre-existing deficiencies and/or openings in the roof covering and sealant.”

Westchester Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges Westchester violated the Texas Insurance Code by failing to effectuate the prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failing to provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and misrepresenting the policy under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawsuit

 In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, many insurance companies are trying to reduce payouts by misclassifying damage. This is wrong, and the insurance attorneys at Raizner Law are here to help policyholders stand up to insurance companies. If your Hurricane Harvey wind damage claim has been denied, contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.