Tag: Hurricane Harvey

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.

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.

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.