On Sept. 1, one week after Hurricane Harvey made landfall and triggered the worst catastrophe in Texas history, a brand-new insurance law entered impact– and not to the advantage of house owners. To call the timing terrible is a routine understatement.
The Texas Legislature ought to suspend the execution of this brand-new law, House Bill 1774, or the “Blue Tarp Law,” to provide property owners time to recuperate.
10s of countless survivors are looking for a haven in shelters. Some quotes that 30,000 to 40,000 houses are damaged in Houston alone. And essential, households have lost lives in this excellent catastrophe.
Amidst all this sorrow, worry and stress and anxiety comes to the tension and stress from news of this brand-new law, set to work before many people can return home.
HB 1774, the “Blue Tarp Law,” called for the blue tarpaulins covering houses with property damage, decreases the interest on damages declares customers can recuperate in litigation. It also enforces burdensome pre-lawsuit notification and evaluation requirements. Crucial, it minimizes the quantity of lawyer’s costs a customer might get after an effective action oftentimes. You must need to know marketing a law practice.
In the days before Sept. 1, exaggeration and false information about the result and scope of the brand-new law filled social media and some news outlets. Survivors were informed by many to submit claims before Sept. 1 or face negative effects.
I am hiring the Texas Legislature to do the best thing by other Texans and place a 90-day suspension on HB 1774.
No matter the law’s real effect, today it is triggering worry, confusion, and unnecessary tension. The Texas Legislature needs to go back to the status quo to assure customers that there is no harmful impact triggered by not meeting the Sept. 1 due to date.
Supporters of the law, which appear to be mostly supported by the insurance market, declare the law will not impact the majority of those who suffered flood damage from Harvey. Let’s hope that holds true. For a legal act, this cost is more intricate and complicated than a James Joyce book.
On its face, HB 1774 does not use to an action versus the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. It also does not use to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which is exempt from state laws. FEMA is the dominant flood insurance company in the Houston area. It just uses to real estate claims, not personal property claims, such as autos.
For those who do have personal insurance covering their real estate damage, filing after Sept. 1 will not affect their claim resolution procedure. Rather, if an insured house owner deals with a hold-up or failure to pay from their insurance company and should start a claim, then damages will be topped at the quantity of the claim plus interest at market rate plus 5 percent (presently about 10 percent overall). The previous rate was 18 percent. For those guaranteed who must turn to litigation, suing on Sept. 1 or later on will mean about an 8 percent decrease in interest on the claim. This “interest” generally means extra money you would get for not having your claim paid on time, in the very same way one pays interest on a loan.
The other considerable arrangements of the law will use to any claim submitted after Sept. 1. At this phase, it would be extremely early for any Harvey survivors to be getting ready for a suit. The brand-new notification arrangement needs the customer to alert an insurance company or representative in composing 60 days before submitting a suit of the basis for the claim, the quantity declared to be owed, and the quantity of lawyer’s costs sustained.
The lawyer’s charge cap is more complicated. The law decreases the quantity of lawyer’s costs the court can award if the claimant wins less than 80 percent of the damages declared in the pre-suit notification and gets rid of an award of lawyer’s costs for those who recuperate less than 20 percent of damages declared because of notification.
Ideally, this detail enables some homeowner to breathe a little simpler, knowing that Sept. 1 was not a due date for submitting claims.
It is time for the Texas Legislature to leap in the act, in an act of empathy, to momentarily suspend HB 1774 so that those so just recently harmed have time to look for legal guidance, read their policies and breathe much easier under the umbrella of the previous law.