Texas Insurance Law's Impact Hurricane Harvey Victims

In an interview with Bloomberg Radio’s Bloomberg Law, Attorney Brian Lauten, a partner at Lyons & Simmons, LLP, discusses how the Texas House Bill 1774 may or may not impact those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Homeowners have suffered costly damage to their properties as a result of the extreme flooding in the Houston area, and are wondering how and when federal assistance will play a part, if at all.

Experts have estimated Hurricane Harvey broke the record for the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, potentially causing $190 billion in damage. Roughly 94,000 homes have been either damaged or destroyed by the hurricane, according to the Texas Division of Emergency Management. The Texas governor released a statement, saying the state would require around $125 billion dollars to repair the damage left by Harvey.

To date, approximately 325,000 people have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Agency, a sum that may not be affordable. The National Flood Insurance Program is currently a staggering $25 billion in debt. The bill for the program is set to expire on September 30th and many Texans worry they won’t receive assistance is the bill isn’t renewed. Even if it is not renewed. Nearly 80% of all Texans do not have flood insurance and are therefore left to seek federal aid for Hurricane Harvey damage, or to pursue coverage through their standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

Brian Lauten, Partner at Lyons & Simmons, LLP discusses how much coverage and federal assistance home owners can realistically expect following Hurricane Harvey. Although flood damage is excluded under most insurance policies, there are other types of damage covered that homeowners may pursue in their request for financial relief. For example, if high winds blew a tree through the roof of a home, causing rainwater to enter and flood the home, they may be able to seek coverage even if they do not have flood insurance. Additionally, if an insurer wrongfully denies a claim, delays the claims process, or makes an unreasonably low offer, the homeowner can pursue legal options.

For those affected by Hurricane Harvey, it is important that you file a claim through your insurance for the damage your home sustained. Even if you do not have flood insurance, you may still be eligible for coverage. If you are uncertain how to file a claim, or you believe your claim was wrongfully denied, undervalued, or unfairly delayed, you may have a case.

To listen to the full audio recording by Bloomberg Radio,click here.

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