Setting the Record Straight on Claims Filing Misinformation

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There has been and continues to be incorrect information relating to your insureds’ rights and obligations under their current policies and reporting of claims. If these posts were intended to alarm and confuse the public, then those involved have achieved their goal.

The Facts

  • The normal claims process has not changed.
  • Consumers continue to have a full-range of remedies in the event an insurer acts fraudulently or in bad faith.
  • The Texas Department of Insurance will, as always, in catastrophic events, be monitoring the activities of insurance companies to make sure that claims are being paid properly and promptly.
  • The new law does not take away any right to sue and does not diminish any cause of action that a person has against an insurance company.  HB 1774 does, however, require notice before a lawsuit is filed.
  • The pre lawsuit notice is effective for all “actions filed on and after the effective date, which is September 1, 2017.”  Any lawsuit filed after September 1, 2017, would be governed by the new law.

The primary purpose of the HB 1774 is to require written notice of a dispute before a lawsuit is filed. The new law is designed to do two important things:

  • Discourage the feeding frenzy by lawyers and contractors following natural events occurring in Texas over the past several years. These unscrupulous actors have taken advantage of thousands of hard-working Texans over the past several years.
  • Encourage out-of-state insurance adjusters to come work in Texas following a massive disaster like Harvey. In the following days and weeks, it will be critically important for out-of-state adjusters to work in Texas to ensure that insurance claims are evaluated and paid in a timely manner.

Calming Your Clients

  1. Provide clear instructions on how to file their claim.
  2. Warn them of individuals claiming to help them get more from their insurance company.
  3. Encourage them to file their claim as quickly as possible.

Our thoughts are with our members and the Texas communities impacted during this time of crisis. More than ever, our independent agents demonstrate their value during these times of need.

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