Pre-suit Notices Now Required by Texas Hailstorm Law
February 8, 2018, Dallas, TX – Falling hailstones dent roofs and smash windshields. After the wreckage, honest people seek assistance, but frauds see opportunity. A report of the Texas Department of Insurance, or TDI, revealed that insurers paid $1.9 billion for residential hail property losses in 2015, which was the highest annual amount until insurers paid $4.3 billion in 2016 for the first nine months alone.
In 2017, the Texas legislature passed the Hailstorm Law, which requires claimants to provide insurers with pre-suit notices of their claims and give their insurers an opportunity to inspect their allegedly affected property.
To inform insurers about this legislation, Steven Wood, a senior attorney at Parker Straus, LLP, spoke to the membership and guests of the North Texas International Association of Special Investigation Units.
He directed them to the findings of the TDI:
- Between 2011 and 2015, the amount insurers paid for hail losses increased by 10 percent.
- Between 2011 and 2015, the amount of hail claims decreased slightly.
More hail storms would mean both more hail claims and higher hail losses, but the numbers tell a different story.
Wood directed his audience to an additional finding of the TDI:
- Around 2012, the percentage of windstorm and hail claims involving attorneys, lawsuits, or PAs increased significantly.
Wood linked this fact with the increase in hail losses. He said, “Most claims with attorneys involved were dramatically overinflated.”
He said that insurers would appraise the damaged property and offer $10,000 to $13,000, but plaintiff attorneys, knowing that insurers wanted to settle, would demand an average of around $100,000.
“Only 40 to 50 percent of the claimants actually filed a pre-suit notice of claim,” said Wood. “The rest just filed suit without ever attempting to settle.”
Wood informed his audience about the protections provided by the 2017 Texas Hailstorm Law
“The law requires claimants to provide insurers with pre-suit notice of their claims and an opportunity to inspect the property,” said Wood. “The insurer has the right to request that the case be abated until such time as the claimant complies with his or her duties.”
If you are dealing with fraudulent hail storm claims or have additional questions about the Texas Hailstorm Law, or are interested in presentation opportunities on this topic, please consult the experienced legal counsel of Parker Straus, LLP at (888) 557-3311.