Tag: Water Damage

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.

Insurance Attorneys

Southeastern Texas Sees Worst Rain Since Harvey

Many Texans were having flashbacks to Hurricane Harvey last week as they surveyed the damage caused by several days of significant rainfall. On June 19th, a slow moving storm drenched Southeastern Texas with the worst rainfall the area has seen since Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.

The slow moving storm was a recipe for disaster. The upper-level low-pressure system stalled over Texas, where it began interacting with widespread tropical moisture, which caused the torrential downpour. The storm dropped large amounts of rain ranging from five inches to 15 inches in some areas. Most of the rainfall fell along the Texas coast from its Southern border to approximately 125 miles south of Houston. The rain also hit the Beaumont-Port Arthur area particularly hard, with some property owners discovering six inches of floodwaters. Many Orange County residents had only recently moved back into their homes after Hurricane Harvey only to suffer flood damage again during this latest bout of storms.

Recovery after a storm like this can take many months. Unfortunately for property owners, dishonest insurance companies are reluctant to uphold their policies, thus slowing repairs down. Many companies use nuances in policies to try to wiggle their way out of paying claims, so it’s important for policyholders to understand some insurance jargon.

Wind Driven Rain vs. Storm Created Openings

There are two types of water damage created by rainfall: wind driven rain and storm created openings. While you might not think there is much of a difference between the two, the reality is that one of these types of damage is covered by insurance and the other is not. A storm created opening occurs when wind or other forces during a storm create an opening rainfall can then fall through. If wind rips off portions of your roof, siding or windows, a building’s interior will quickly become drenched. This type of damage is covered under your insurance policy. Wind driven rain occurs when an existing flaws in the building envelope allow rainwater to enter the interior of a building. This type of damage is not covered under your policy.

The difference between wind driven rain and storm created openings may seem obvious, but many insurance companies will wrongfully classify damage as wind driven rain to avoid paying out. Unfortunately, many policyholders don’t know any better. When an insurance company wrongfully denies claims, policyholders can hold them accountable by filing a lawsuit.

Insurance Attorneys For Southeastern Texas

Raizner Slania LLP is a local law firm that focuses on getting policyholders the most out of their policies. If your insurance company has delayed, underpaid, or denied your property damage claim, call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn your legal options.

Port Aransas Hurricane Harvey Claim

Port Aransas Still Rebuilding After Enduring Hurricane Harvey Six Months Ago

Hurricane Harvey came ashore between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas on August 25, 2017. Port Aransas was devastated by hurricane force winds, storm surges, and relentless rainfall. As a result of Harvey’s arrival, property owners in Port Aransas are still clearing debris and struggling to rebuild. According to the local chamber of commerce, 90% of all buildings in Port Aransas suffered damage from the storm, making restoration and rebuilding complicated and time consuming.

In the months after Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas has been busy rebuilding, but progress has been incredibly slow. Many of the condos and high-rises that dotted the seashore remain boarded up, and only a fraction of hotels have reopened for business. For a town that relies on tourism, Harvey’s economic impact went far beyond the physical property damage caused by the storm – the financial losses remain ongoing because of income lost during the rebuilding process. Only about 25% of all hotel and motel rooms available in Port Aransas are open for business. For a city that sees approximately five million tourists a year, the lost revenue from Harvey is astronomical. It is projected the city will need three to five years for a complete recovery.

Harvey’s destruction in Port Aransas was absolute. Many buildings, including the police department and courthouse have been considered total losses. This means they will need to be completely torn down and rebuilt. This is time consuming and extremely costly. Harvey caused such complete damage in part because of its hurricane force winds. The National Weather Service clocked winds in Port Aransas at 132 miles per hour with sustained winds up to 110 miles per hour.

These winds tore open many roofs and other structures, allowing rainfall to drench the interiors. For many business owners, the rainfall also destroyed the interior walls, furniture, fixtures, and other interior property items.

Even though the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey seems straightforward, many property owners are fighting with insurance companies over their Hurricane Harvey claims. Although the damage is obvious to property owners, insurance companies are using bad faith tactics to ignore obvious damage and wrongfully deny valid insurance claims. They are doing this to avoid expensive payouts, which is both illegal and all too common. Policyholders that regularly pay their premiums deserve full coverage under their policies. For many Port Aransas property owners, the only way to get the compensation they are entitled to is to work with an experienced insurance lawyer.

Get Help With Your Port Aransas Hurricane Harvey Claim

At Raizner Slania LLP, our attorneys are leaders in insurance litigation. We’ve helped property owners from around the country recover funds owed under their policies and more, and we are currently fighting in court for Hurricane Harvey victims all across Texas. If you need help with your Port Aransas Hurricane Harvey claim, call us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case.

water damage

What To Know About Water Damage

There are a variety of ways your business might suffer water damage. From floods to putting out fires, water damage is a real threat to your business, and there are a few things you need to know to protect your investment.

Not All Water Damage Is Created Equal

You might think that water is just water, but to your insurance company, this is far from the truth. Unless otherwise specifically stated, flood damage and certain types of water damage are not generally covered under the same policy. While most commercial insurance policies will cover water damage, you will need an additional policy to cover flood damage. Many times, it matters how the water was discharged. Water discharge from some types of building systems can be covered, while it is not covered if the water came from a different type of fixture or system.

Don’t Forget The Maintenance

You might think a tiny leak from a pipe isn’t anything to worry about, but this is far from the truth. Gradual leaks cause damage over time, and if you don’t make any effort to fix the leak your insurance company might not cover damage associated with “continuous or repeated seepage.” Regular maintenance can ensure you avoid costly out of pocket repairs in the future.

The Clock Is Ticking

Do not waste time in contacting your insurance company after suffering water damage. Water damage has the potential to cause massive secondary damage if not immediately treated. In as little as 24 to 48 hours, mold can begin to grow and become widespread. Mold can cause serious health problems and is very costly to have removed, so clean up needs to begin as soon as possible.

Water Pollution Levels Matter

Water damage is categorized into three levels by the amount of pollution. Water with high pollution levels could cause serious illness or death if not handled appropriately. It’s important to keep in mind that while some water might start off without any pollutants, it might not stay that way. If there is any doubt about the level of pollution in water damage, leave it to the professionals.

Bad Faith Insurance Claims

Sometimes policyholders follow all appropriate steps when filing a commercial insurance claim, but their claim will still be denied. Some insurance companies, like surplus lines insurers, will often use bad faith tactics to avoid paying out costly claims. However, with the help of a skilled insurance attorney, policyholders can obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve under their policies.

Raizner Slania: Texas Water Damage Claims Attorneys

The experienced water damage attorneys at Raizner Slania have successfully obtained compensation for clients against some of the largest insurance companies in the world. If your business suffered water damage and your commercial insurance claim was denied, call us today for a free consultation.