Many Texans are still struggling to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. For residents in Victoria, Texas, recovery has been very slow. When Harvey ripped through Victoria, it was still a Category 4 hurricane, meaning it caused absolutely catastrophic damage. Victoria’s sluggish recovery is due, in part, to insurance companies operating in bad faith toward policyholders unaware of their rights.
The Complexities of Wind Claims
As a Category 4 hurricane, Harvey caused substantial wind damage across Victoria. Unfortunately, wind damage is usually just the beginning of the damage a building sustains in the aftermath of a large-scale natural disaster. Wind damage often creates openings that allows rain into properties, causing widespread water damage. Many commercial buildings in Victoria had their roofs ripped off, which allowed Harvey’s relentless rainfall to destroy just about everything inside.
Recovering funds for flooded contents might seem like a straightforward insurance claim, but the reality many Victoria business owners are facing is that insurance companies are operating in bad faith to avoid paying out on claims. Natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey leave insurance companies on the hook for billions of dollars in damages. To avoid and/or limit their claims obligations, many insurance companies are using bad faith tactics to wrongfully deny or limit claims.
Storm Created Openings and Wind Driven Rain
A storm like Harvey can cause both exterior and interior damage to commercial buildings. Some insurance policies require a storm created opening for interior damage to be covered, while other policies do not, and it takes an experienced insurance attorney to know the difference. Storm created openings occur when a storm causes an opening in building envelope, including the roof, exterior and windows, and this opening allows rainfall to damage the interior.
By classifying damage as being caused by wind driven rain rather than storm created openings, insurance companies sometimes try to avoid paying for water damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. This isn’t just wrong, its illegal, and Victoria business owners need to understand their rights regarding their commercial insurance policies.
Know Your Rights
Commercial insurance policyholders are protected under the Texas Insurance Code from certain bad faith tactics. Policyholders have a right to a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim. Insurance companies are required to adopt and implement reasonable standards for the prompt investigation of a claim and cannot refuse a claim without conducting a reasonable investigation. If your insurance company is violating your rights you’re going to need the help of an experienced insurance lawyer.
At Raizner Slania LLP, our insurance lawyers have taken on some of the largest insurers in the country, and won. We know how insurance companies try to dodge responsibility and how to combat this to get our clients what they are rightfully owed under their policies. Contact us today to discuss your Victoria Hurricane Harvey claim during a free consultation.