by Dan Wade
There has been some confusion about the effect of a new Texas law that limits the future legal rights of people and businesses that will be filing insurance claims for damage from Hurricane Harvey. The new law comes into play in situations where an insurance company wrongfully underpays or denies a claim.  The law will impact policyholders differently, depending on what type of insurance policy they have and when they notify their insurer of Harvey damage.  There are at least three types of insurance policies at issue:  Policies issued by standard/private insurance companies such as State Farm and Allstate.  Policies issued by the Texas Windstorm Association (TWIA), and policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 
It is our understanding that the new law will only limit the rights of the customers of standard/private insurance companies.  Best practice for any damage victim is to notify their insurance company as soon after a loss as practical.  As to standard/private insurance company claims , property owners will still be able to recover the 18% statutory penalty that existed before the new law took effect, as long as the property owner notified their insurer before midnight on August 31st, 2017.  As to property owners who file Harvey damage claims with standard/private insurance companies after the new law takes effect September 1st, those property owners will only be able to recover a reduced statutory penalty of approximately 10%.  For more details, consult a qualified attorney.

About The Blogger

Dan Wade

Dan Wade joined United Policyholders ("UP") in January 2014. As Staff Attorney, he works on UP's Advocacy and Action Program, helping draft and coordinate amicus curiae briefs, assists with legislative/regulatory advocacy, and conducts legal research in partnership with UP partners and volunteers. Dan also supports the Roadmap to Recovery and Roadmap to Preparedness Programs. Dan's relationship with UP began as a student in Professor Ken Klein's disaster law seminar where Executive Director Amy Bach was a guest lecturer. As a law student volunteer for UP, he researched trends in bad faith insurance law and tracked Superstorm Sandy insurance litigation. Dan gained transactional and litigation experience as a law clerk for Higgs, Fletcher and Mack, a mid-sized San Diego-based business law firm and externed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Regional Counsel in Chicago. Before joining UP, he was a post-bar intern at the Alliance for the Great Lakes, a Chicago-based environmental group. 

Dan earned his undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in 2007 and his Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law in San Diego in 2013. He was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 2013 and the California Bar in 2014. He is a member of various professional associations, including: the American Bar Association - Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, where he serves as Vice Chair of the Property Insurance Law Committee, the American Association for Justice, and the Consumer Attorneys of California. Dan also serves as Vice Director of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Disaster Legal Services Program, a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that delivers free legal assistance to low-income persons affected by disasters, through which Dan coordinates pro bono legal assistance to insurance policyholders in disaster areas.