TWIA Hurricane Bad Faith Claims Practices Result In Homeowner Lawsuits & Ins Dept Investigations
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The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) has been accused of engaging in bad faith insurance practices in connection with Hurricane Ike homeowner claims. The result has been numerous bad faith homeowner insurance lawsuits and an investigation by the Texas Department of Insurance.
Texas Windstorm bad faith insurance lawsuits
Numerous bad faith insurance lawsuits have been filed against TWIA for the way it handled homeowner damage claims after Hurricane Ike, the third most destructive hurricane to ever make landfall in the United States. It resulted in the largest evacuation effort in Texas history, became the largest search and rescue operation in US history, caused $24 billion worth of damage and over 80 deaths.
Much of the destruction represented homeowner damage, but many say that TWIA did everything it could to delay or deny homeowner claim payments. According to news reports, bad faith hurricane insurance attorneys have uncovered TWIA e-mails which show that the insurer stopped using outside engineers who would not submit damage reports that were in the insurer's favor.
Many bad faith insurance homeowner lawsuits allege that TWIA used prices that were below fair market rates to estimate the cost of materials and repair, limited roof repair costs and discouraged adjusters from reopening claims that had already been closed out – allegations which also being investigated by the Texas Department of Insurance.
Texas Department of Insurance Investigation
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is also investigating TWIA's business practices. Two investigations are currently ongoing – one examining its general claims practices and another over how the insurer handled claims involving overhead and profit – which are claims that would likely require the use of a general contractor.
Hurricane fraud too common
Hurricane fraud is more common than most people think. Bad faith insurance lawyers say that insurance companies routinely hid behind anti-concurrent cause language to avoid liability after Hurricanes Ike, Rita and Katrina.
Anti-concurrent language says that a loss will not be covered if water and wind damage happened at the same time – or concurrently. However, proving whether wind or water was the proximate cause of the damage is often impossible after a hurricane – and can leave homeowners fighting with their insurance companies for years.
If this has happened to you, it's important to know that you can fight back. Experienced bad faith insurance lawyers know how insurance companies operate; but more importantly, insurance companies know which attorneys understand – and may be more willing to negotiate a fair settlement to avoid litigation. Consultations are free, so contact an attorney to discuss your situation and determine what options might be available to you.
The foregoing article has been prepared by an attorney who is a regular contributor to FreeAdvice, and is now undergoing review by the site's editorial staff.