Tag: Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Attorneys 

Raizner Law Files Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit On Behalf of Commercial Building Owner

Raizner Law has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit on behalf of a commercial building owner against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s after its insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law. The building suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Harvey, and to this day, Lloyd’s has failed to issue the plaintiff full coverage under its policy.

The plaintiff owns a large commercial property in Houston, Texas that houses a banquet hall, office space, 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 as a Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Harvey’s extreme winds and rain when it hit Harris County, and specifically the subject property, on August 27, 2017 caused the property substantial damages. Sizeable portions of the property’s roof were compromised by wind, resulting in interior damage to ceilings, walls, and flooring.

Despite underwriting insurance policies for Texas properties, Lloyd’s does not have a single employee in Texas, so when claims like the plaintiff’s arise, they assign the claim to third-party administrators. In this case, Lloyd’s assigned our client’s claim to Gulf Coast Claims Services (GCCS), one of several adjusting firms that have sprouted to service the foreign, absentee insurance market led by Lloyd’s. Although Texas law provides that an insurer has a “non-delegable duty” to responsibly handle claims, delegate is precisely what foreign insurance entities like Lloyd’s do on a regular basis.

Lloyd’s utilized its preferred vendor, GCCS, to handle adjustment of the claim on its behalf. GCCS’s adjustment was disorganized, rife with delays, and left many of the plaintiff’s questions unanswered. The plaintiff hired its own representative to assist with the claims process, but GCCS’s adjusters continuously ignored the plaintiff’s representative in an effort to intentionally mislead the plaintiff about the claims process and ultimately deny the claim.

Lloyd’s 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 promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and refusal to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Attorneys 

At Raizner Law, we have extensive experience taking on large insurance companies and obtaining successful outcomes for our clients. If you are a business owner struggling with your insurance company over a Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to contact one of our Hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit attorneys to learn your rights.

Hurricane Damage Insurance Lawyers

Will We See More Storms Like Hurricane Harvey?

Hurricane Harvey was a unique storm. While the Gulf Coast is no stranger to catastrophic hurricanes, Harvey’s lasting legacy wasn’t in its Category 4 winds, but its relentless rainfall. And, according to a recent study, Texas could see more hurricanes like Harvey in the near future.

Hurricanes Are Slowing Down

Harvey was able to drop unprecedented amounts of rainfall because the storm stalled over Southeast Texas. According to a study published in the journal Nature, hurricanes are actually slowing down, meaning Texas could see more storms like Harvey. According to the study, tropical cyclones have decreased their speed by an average of 10% worldwide since 1949. That might not seem like much, but storms in the North Atlantic have actually slowed down more than the global average. North Atlantic storms like Harvey have decreased in speed by an average of 20%.

Slow Moving Storms

As witnessed with Harvey, slow moving storms can cause billions of dollars in damage. These storms are dropping more rainfall and causing more damage as they hover over areas for longer periods of time. For Houstonians, it’s hard to imagine Harvey’s unprecedented rainfall could become the new normal, but that might be the case.

Can Houston Withstand Another Storm Like Harvey?

Houston experienced widespread flooding during Hurricane Harvey and many of the reservoirs breached their banks. This was the case for the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. Homeowners in these areas had no idea their homes were located in dry reservoirs until they were flooded under many feet of water. The pressure behind the Addicks and Barker dams was so great, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to begin controlled releases to prevent catastrophic failure of the dams. The controlled dam releases flooded thousands of Houston homes downstream and upstream of the reservoirs. Although Houston is investing money into flood mitigation, the 2018 hurricane season has already begun. Just one storm this season could drench Houston in Harvey-like rainfall.

Hurricane Damage Insurance Lawyers

Raizner Slania LLP is a local Houston law firm that helps Houstonians rebuild after hurricanes. Insurance companies are often dishonest when handling large claims, so by partnering with our hurricane damage insurance lawyers, you can be sure you will get the most out of your policy. If your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or denied your Hurricane Harvey insurance claim, contact us today for a free consultation.

Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim

Houston Is About To Get $1 Billion In FEMA Funding, But It’s Not Nearly Enough

It’s been nearly ten months since Hurricane Harvey devastated Texas, but complete recovery is still a long way away. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has promised Houston recovery funds, but according to estimates the amount won’t be anywhere near enough.

The city of Houston released an action plan and summary last week that detailed exactly how the city will spend over $1 billion in FEMA long-term housing aid. Although $1 billion is by no means a meager sum, according to FEMA’s own estimates, this represents less than one-third of what Houston still needs to recover. According to the City of Houston, even after receiving $1 billion of FEMA funds, the city will still have an “unmet housing need” of approximately $2.3 billion.

As staggering as an additional $2.3 billion is, many argue that estimate severely underestimates the needs of displaced Houstonians. To better gauge where Hurricane Harvey victims are in the recovery process, the General Land Office and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are extensively surveying counties declared disaster areas. Researchers want to know whether victims are still displaced and exactly how much damage remains to be fixed in their homes.

While FEMA helps provide immediate and short-term housing options for victims displaced by natural disasters, there are far fewer long-term options. Rebuilding homes and businesses could take years, and many victims can feel forgotten and hopeless as news coverage and community support slowly fades.

Insurance Companies Slowing Down Recovery

Some Houstonians were fortunate enough to have property insurance to cover the damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, surplus lines insurers dominate the Texas commercial property insurance market, and these carriers are in no hurry to pay out on claims. A surplus lines insurer is not really an insurance company – it’s more like a file cabinet. Insurers enter into insurance contracts with foreign entities not licensed to operate in Texas. These foreign entities don’t have offices in the state or often in the entire country. They collect insurance premiums, but when it comes time to process and handle claims, there’s no one to do it. These foreign entities then rely on third party claims adjusters who are incentivized to minimize the value of insurance claims as much as possible. In the end, the policyholders are left hung out to dry with grossly underpaid or downright denied claims.

Get Help With Your Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim

Although state and federal agencies are still struggling to understand the full extent of the impact Harvey had on the city, Houstonians understand it all to well. Many of our homes remain uninhabitable and businesses have yet to reopen their doors. Raizner Slania LLP is a local Houston law firm representing Hurricane Harvey victims in a wide array of insurance claims. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.

hurricane Harvey insurance lawsuit

Commercial Building Owner Files Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit Against Underwriters at Lloyd’s

Raizner Slania LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Harris County commercial building owner against Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London after its Hurricane Harvey Insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

Hurricane Harvey Drops Unprecedented Rainfall

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall off the Texas coast in late August 2017, few anticipated how much rain the slow moving storm would drop across Texas. Hurricane Harvey’s extreme winds and rain caused substantial damage to our client’s commercial property. Wind compromised sizable portions of the property’s roof, which caused water intrusion and interior damage. Overall, the roof, insulation, ceilings, interiors, and electrical components of the structure were damaged.

Despite substantial damage, the plaintiff felt fortunate to have an insurance policy that would cover the cost of repairs. Immediately after the storm, the plaintiff promptly filed a claim with Underwriters, alerting them to the extensive damages.

Unfortunately, Underwriters’ 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. Underwriters unreasonably pinned the loss on anything but the wind, an action designed to save the insurer hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to the property and the business.

The plaintiff hired its own public adjuster to estimate repair costs; however, Underwriters and its preferred vendor, Vericlaim, Inc., ignored the estimates provided by the public adjuster. Although Underwriters has, to date, provided no clear documentation of its inspection or findings, it denied the claim in full on December 26, 2017.

In its Denial Letter, Underwriters quoted the opinions of an engineer it claims to have hired to support its conclusions. If any estimates were in fact prepared, none of those documents or explanations were provided to the plaintiff. Instead, Underwriters simply denied the claim and closed the file.

Underwriters at Lloyd’s 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 promptly provide a reasonable explanation for the denial of a claim, and refusal to pay the claim without conducting a reasonable investigation.

Hurricane Harvey Lawyers

Texans experienced catastrophic losses in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. As if the physical damage wasn’t severe enough, Texans are now facing dishonest insurance companies that are wrongfully denying claims and preventing Texans from rebuilding. If you are struggling with your insurance company with regard to a Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to contact us to learn your rights.

Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawyer

Galveston Condominium Association Files Hurricane Harvey Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania LLP has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a condominium association against Texas Windstorm Insurance Association after its Galveston County Hurricane Harvey wind damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied.

Hurricane Harvey Slams Into Texas Coast

Hurricane Harvey came ashore as a Category 4 hurricane and devastated the Texas coast. When Hurricane Harvey swept through Galveston, Texas, the city and its inhabitants experienced severe gusts of wind up to 54 miles per hour. As a result of Hurricane Harvey’s devastating winds, the building suffered damage to the interiors, exteriors, lighting, elevators, security cameras, and roofing systems, among other components. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Texas Windstorm and asked that the cost of repairs be covered pursuant to the policy.

In response to the claim, Texas Windstorm sent an adjuster to the property on September 29, 2017, who personally observed substantial wind damage resulting from Hurricane Harvey. However, Texas Windstorm relied upon an engineer from BSC Forensics who concluded the damage was not storm related, but instead resulted from long-term trapped moisture, installation deficiencies, and other excuses.

Despite clear evidence of covered damage, Texas Windstorm engaged in and ratified this improper claims conduct and ultimately approved a gross underpayment of the contractual damages. Texas Windstorm instead unreasonably blamed the loss on causes other than wind to avoid contractual responsibilities and to save in excess of $1,000,000. The plaintiff cooperated throughout the claim process and even had consultants meticulously point out the extent of the damages covered by the subject policy.

Texas Windstorm chose to ignore obvious damages to the property. The plaintiff was forced to hire its own representative and demand re-inspections and re-evaluations of the obvious damages to the property that Texas Windstorm ignored.

Texas Windstorm Violated The Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges Texas Windstorm violated the Texas Insurance Code by failing to adequately pay the claim as it is obligated to do under the terms of the policy in question and under the laws in the State of Texas. Our client also claims Texas Windstorm mishandled the plaintiff’s claim to their detriment by intentionally failing to meet the deadlines or timelines established under subchapter L-1 of Chapter 2210 of the Texas Insurance Code.

Hurricane Harvey Wind Damage Lawyer

Insurance companies have no right to wrongfully deny or underpay valid claims. If you did not receive fair compensation from your Hurricane Harvey wind damage insurance claim, contact Raizner Slania LLP today. Our experienced insurance lawyers can help you get what you deserve under your policy. Call us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Port Arthur Hurricane Harvey Claim

Port Arthur Still Struggling in Harvey’s Wake

Although Port Arthur was hundreds of miles away from Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, the city and surrounding areas still suffered catastrophic damage from Harvey. The storm dropped relentless amounts of rain that caused flash flooding and other dangerous flood conditions.

Unprecedented Rainfall in Port Arthur

According to the National Weather Service, 26.03 inches of rain fell at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport near Port Arthur on August 29, 2017 alone. In total, 47.35 inches of rainfall was recorded in Port Arthur. In the days after Hurricane Harvey hit landfall, the rain continued to cause flooding for Part Arthur residents. A local storm shelter was set up at the Bob Bower Civic Center, but evacuees were forced to move to other shelters as conditions became more dangerous.

Port Arthur gained nationwide attention when news of a flooded nursing home showed residents stuck in several feet of water. Nearly 100 nursing home residents were evacuated by boat. But nursing home residents were not the only ones evacuated from Port Arthur. Thousands of residents were left displaced as rapidly rising floodwaters forced them to leave their homes with little to no notice.

Recovering After Hurricane Harvey

The damage caused by Hurricane Harvey was catastrophic for Port Arthur. City officials estimate it will cost $25 million just to rid the city of debris and garbage from the storm. The debris is also causing health problems for some residents. Drywall soaked in floodwaters can quickly develop black mold, and many residents have suffered from breathing problems and rashes associated with black mold exposure. For business owners, recovery has been particularly challenging. In addition to the cost of rebuilding, many business owners are left without a way to generate revenue after floodwaters destroyed their property.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are slowing rebuilding down even further. Hurricane Harvey caused billions of dollars in property damage collectively, and insurance companies are trying their best to avoid costly payouts in the wake of the storm. Many insurance companies are wrongfully denying claims and misrepresenting policies to save on their bottom lines. In some cases, insurance companies are claiming that they don’t need to pay for massive interior damages because there was no “storm created opening,” when in fact the roof was damaged. In other cases, the insurance policy does not require a storm created opening for the interior to be covered, and the insurance company is claiming the exact opposite. Each policy must be reviewed on its own merits to determine what is and is not covered.

Get Help With Your Port Arthur Hurricane Harvey Claim

If you regularly pay premiums, you are entitled to the coverage your insurance policy affords. If your insurance company is delaying, undervaluing, or denying your Port Arthur Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to call the experienced insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania LLP. We can help you get the coverage you deserve.