Many Insurers Still Haven't Settled Hurricane Ike Claims
Although it's been a year since Hurricane Ike devastated parts of Texas, caused nearly $24 billion worth or damage and claimed 82 deaths, many homeowners' insurance companies have yet to settle claims with their policyholders ý which has led to bad faith insurance claims and breach of contract claims.
Insurance Bad Faith & Breach of Contract Lawsuits
We've all heard about the horrendous insurance situations surrounding Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Rita where homeowners waited years before their insurance companies would settle their claims, if they did so at all or paid homeowners the actual value of what their claims were worth. In many situations, insurance companies denied claims by blaming damage on floods instead of wind, when the two are often concurrent causes.
The same types of situations are now occurring with victims of Hurricane Ike that pounded Texas in September of 2008. There have been many reports of Texas homeowners' insurance companies denying or delaying claim payments, at a time when they need it the most.
The insurer's duty of good faith
Insurance companies owe their policyholders a duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means that they must:
- adjust your claim properly by either paying or denying it, and not delaying the process
- cooperate with you regarding the claim by responding to your letters and phone calls within reasonable time frames
- inform you in writing why your claim is being denied and identify the specific contract provision for the denial
When insurers don't do those things, they are acting in bad faith and can be held responsible for their actions through a bad faith insurance lawsuit (also known as hurricane fraud) or a breach of contract lawsuit ý as an insurance policy really is a contract between an insurance company and its policyholder. For tips on how to avoid hurricane insurance claim delays, claim denials and fraud, please click here.
Two year statute of limitations
Texas insurance policyholders have two years in which to file bad faith insurance lawsuits pursuant to the State's statute of limitations. So, if you've been denied your valid insurance benefits and can't seem to get anywhere with your insurer, you still have time to contact an experienced hurricane insurance lawyer to review your situation and evaluate your options.