UNITED STATES - AUGUST 25: In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES East satellite capture of Hurricane Harvey shows the storm making landfall shortly after 8:00pm CDT on August 25, 2017 on the mid-Texas coast. Now at category 4 strength, Harvey's maximum sustained winds had increased to 130 miles per hour. (Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)

Texas HB1774 – Potential Impact to Those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

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While search and rescue operations continue in Texas, it is difficult to think about recovery and build back.  However, this is time sensitive for those who are safe: Texans who may have wind damage, if at all possible, email or fax to your insurer (not the agent) a dated Notice of Hurricane Harvey claim by no later than tomorrow, August 31, 2017. (Understand if you are denied the insurer may later drop you or give you an unfavorable underwriting ranking.) Starting Friday, September 1st an anti-consumer insurance law will take effect in Texas.  Here is this week’s article in the Dallas News on the subject:  https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-legislature/2017/08/28/lawyers-harvey-victims-file-insurance-claims-law-changes-sept-1-risk-losing-money

Here is a copy of the law:  https://legiscan.com/TX/text/HB1774/id/1619329/Texas-2017-HB1774-Enrolled.html

It is unclear exactly what the scope and impact of this law will be, but if you send in written notice of your wind claim by August 31st, you should not run afoul of the new onerous requirements. If written notice is impossible, call in the claim and video tape the call–let the call center know you are doing so and be sure to have the representative acknowledge the date.  Do not speculate about the scope of the wind and flood damages respectively–let the call center know you are a lay person and will have to rely on the proper experts to inspect the building and make those determinations.

Do not panic if you miss the August 31st deadline.  You will still be able to file a wind claim.  You just may be subject to more hoop jumping and less consumer protections.

I have been a licensed lawyer in Texas since Ike, and I am helping Texans with their Harvey claims.  Texans can e-mail me at KDC@LigoriLaw.com for free legal advice to get your claims headed in the right direction.

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