Tragically, Hurricane Harvey has affected at least 50 Texas counties per Governor Abbott’s recent state disaster declaration. Harvey made landfall with 132 mph winds recorded near Port Aransas, Texas, with other areas recording anywhere from over 50 to 125 mph winds. Even more astounding, however, is the massive rainfall as a result of Harvey. As of August 30, 2017, a reading at Cedar Bayou outside of Houston reflected 51.88 inches of rain, with other affected areas recording 25 to 49 inches of rainfall.
According to CoreLogic, a global analytics firm, 52% of Houston’s residential and commercial properties are located outside of FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard areas. Only those residents with properties located in a flood hazard area are required to purchase flood insurance by lenders, leaving many residents and business owners uninsured for flood. While likely in the minority of claims, some residents and businesses will have flood insurance underwritten in the private market. Nevertheless, insureds will make claims with their property insurers because FEMA disaster assistance is available only for uninsured losses. Undoubtedly, insurers will receive claims involving damages potentially resulting from a covered cause of loss (wind, fire, theft, etc.) and damages that are excluded (water).
The resources available on this page will assist our clients as they navigate the intricacies of claims, policy language, legislation and any resulting litigation.
COMMISSIONER'S BULLETIN # B-0022-17
September 01, 2017
To:All Companies, Corporations, Exchanges, Mutuals, Reciprocals, Associations, Lloyds, or Other Insurers Writing Property and Casualty Insurance in the State of Texas, and to Other Agents and Representatives and the General Public
Re:Weather-Related Event that Occurred August 25, 2017, through August 31, 2017
Under Insurance Code §542.059 and 28 TAC §5.9303, the Texas Department of Insurance has issued an order determining that the weather-related event that occurred August 25, 2017, through August 31, 2017, in Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Hays, Hidalgo, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Travis, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Williamson, and Wilson counties is a catastrophe for the purpose of claims processing. The order is available at www.tdi.texas.gov/orders/index.html.
COMMISSIONER'S BULLETIN # B-0021-17
September 01, 2017
To:ALL PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURERS, THEIR AGENTS, AND THE PUBLIC GENERALLY
Re:Hurricane Harvey – Denial of Flood Losses
Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation declaring a disaster due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey. The proclamation directs that all necessary measures, both public and private, as authorized under §418.017 of the Texas Government Code, be implemented to meet that threat.
President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Many people have suffered property losses due to flood damage not covered by their insurance policies. TDI encourages insurers responding to flood loss inquiries and claims to provide additional information to their insureds about potential Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance and FEMA contact information including the disasterassistance.gov website.
COMMISSIONER'S BULLETIN # B-0011-17
August 26, 2017
To:ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES, CORPORATIONS, EXCHANGES, MUTUALS, RECIPROCALS, ASSOCIATIONS, LLOYDS, OR OTHER INSURERS WRITING PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS, INCLUDING WORKERS' COMPENSATION INSURANCE; PREMIUM FINANCE COMPANIES; AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES; AND ADJUSTERS; AND THE PUBLIC GENERALLY
Re: Hurricane Harvey – Claims Adjusting and Adjusters
In the current disaster circumstances, the Texas Department of Insurance reminds carriers that Insurance Code §4101.002(b) and §4101.101 authorize carriers to immediately use nonresident and emergency adjusters to handle claims. These provisions are discussed at: www.tdi.texas.gov/licensing/agent/agemeradj.html.
With the relocation of hurricane victims and other personal hardships sustained by residents of counties covered in the governor's proclamations, TDI encourages carriers to use all available means to provide prompt and immediate relief to those residents and policyholders.
Insurance Code §4101.251 prohibits licensed adjusters from adjusting a loss related to roofing damage on behalf of an insurer if the adjuster is a roofing contractor or otherwise provides roofing services or roofing products for compensation, or is a controlling person in a roofing-related business. The section also prohibits a roofing contractor from acting as an adjuster or advertising to adjust claims for any property for which the roofing contractor is providing or may provide roofing services, regardless of whether the contractor holds a license under this chapter.
Chapter 4102 of the Insurance Code requires all persons acting as public insurance adjusters to be licensed by the department. The Insurance Code provides for both civil and criminal penalties for violating this license requirement.
Insurance Code §4102.001(3) defines a public insurance adjuster as:
(A) A person who, for direct, indirect, or any other compensation:
(i) acts on behalf of an insured in negotiating for or effecting the settlement of a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property; or
(ii) on behalf of any other public insurance adjuster, investigates, or settles, or adjusts or advises an insured with a claim or claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property; or
(B) A person who advertises, solicits business, or holds himself or herself out to the public as an adjuster of claims for loss or damage under any policy of insurance covering real or personal property.