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Hurricane / Storm Damage Insurance Claims

 

Talk to the People With Hard Experience in Settling Hurricane Claims.

Let the Experienced Attorneys of CSP&T
Hold Your Insurance Company Accountable and
Help Get You the Money You are Owed.

    Get Help NOW with an Insurance Claim!

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    If you need help with a claim, you need someone who understands not only what you went through, but what you’re going through. CSP&T helped many policyholders collect millions of dollars in disputed claims after Hurricane Katrina. Our attorneys ferociously demanded accountability and insisted insurers hold true to their promises. Since then, insurance companies have tightened their grip on the claims process even harder, using technicalities to refuse valid claims.

    At CSP&T, we understand that your losses and your claim are personal, and should be processed and paid as quickly as possible to provide you with the resources you need to get your life and business back on track.

    Hurricane Claim Information Center

    Everything You Need to Know

    Bad Faith Insurance Practices

    When you submit a claim for hurricane or storm damage, insurance companies have a right to investigate it. Unreasonable investigations cross a line and become “bad faith” practices. Fortunately, state law prohibits these types of unfair practices. These include:When you submit a claim for hurricane or storm damage, insurance companies have a right to investigate it. Unreasonable investigations cross a line and become “bad faith” practices. Fortunately, state law prohibits these types of unfair practices. These include:

    • Refusing to pay a claim without conducting an investigation
    • Failing to make a prompt and fair settlement once the insurer’s liability has been verified
    • Failing to promptly and fairly settle a portion of a claim to influence the settlement of another claim
    • Failing to affirm or deny coverage of a claim within a reasonable time
    • Failing to promptly provide a reasonable explanation for denying a claim

    There are many more ways insurance companies can act in bad faith. If you have been denied claim coverage and haven’t been told or don’t understand the reason, you may be entitled to bring a bad faith claim against your insurer.

    When Your Claim is Denied

    There is nothing worse than going through a traumatic experience like a hurricane, suffering damage and finding out your insurance claim has been wrongfully denied. When that happens, it’s important to document all damage as thoroughly as possible and to refrain from signing any documents from your insurance company that you don’t understand. Instead, contact CSP&T and talk to one of our experienced attorneys.

    Can I Sue My Insurance Company?

    An insurance policy is a legal contract between the insurer and policy holder. If your insurance company fails to fulfill its obligations and is in breach of contract, you can definitely sue them. But first you must be able to prove:

    1. The insurance contract existed and was valid at the time of damage
    2. You were in compliance with the insurance contract
    3. Your insurance company breached that contract

    Determining breach of contract and bad faith practices is complicated, but if your insurance company is deemed at fault, you may recover not only the benefits you are entitled to, but also any consequential damages from your insurer’s breach of contract. That’s why you need to talk to one of our experienced claims attorneys.

    Basic Insurance Requirements

    If you are submitting an insurance claim in the state of Texas, your insurer has 15 business days to acknowledge they have received your claim, start investigating your claim, and request any additional items or statements from you. Once your insurer has received all information needed to process your claim, they are required to provide you with an acceptance or rejection within an additional 15 business days. If your claim is accepted, your insurer must provide the payment of the claim in 60 days of receiving any materials requested.

    Your insurer is obligated to deal fairly and in good faith when processing and paying claims. If your insurer deny or delay your claim, they must provide a legitimate reason why in order to avoid liability.

    Penalties for Non-Compliance

    State laws protect clients from fraudulent or negligent insurance companies through financial punishment and legal liability. If your insurance company fails to investigate your claim in a timely manner, delays payment of your claim, or denies payment of your claim without just cause, then they must pay damages.

    For example, in Texas, your insurer is responsible for three times the payment withheld (and attorney fees) if found guilty of failing to comply with state law. In Louisiana, your insurer is responsible for two times the payment withheld plus attorney fees.

    The Louisiana Prompt Payment Act

    Louisiana state law there is somewhat vague on the interpretation of “prompt” and “reasonable” with regard to payment of insurance claims. Your insurer can simply acknowledge a claim in a prompt timeframe and investigate this claim within a reasonable period of time, without defining a required period of time to respond.

    Underpaid Insurance Claims

    Once you have submitted your insurance claim, you will receive a document prepared by an insurance adjustor. This document contains an estimated total cost of repairs to your insured property. Quite often, the estimate provided may not accurately represent the amount of money actually needed to repair the damages suffered. These questionable practices by insurance adjustors may result in underpayment of your claim based on the actual terms of your coverage. If your claim is denied, delayed, or underpaid, you should speak with an attorney right away.

    Hurricane Damage

    If you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tropical storms, chances are you have been prudent and have an insurance policy for your home or business to cover storm damages. Most policies cover damage to the main dwelling, other structures and your personal property. In addition, policies usually provide additional living expenses and/or loss of earnings incurred if your property is not habitable or useable.

    The “gotcha” is that while many of these policies cover wind damage, they exclude and deny claims for flood damage. And since the damage from major storms is usually caused by flooding, insurance companies will look for any opportunity to rule out wind damage and deny a claim. We saw this again and again after Hurricane Katrina.

    Hurricane Damage Facts

    GET PREPARED
    Make extensive plans and preparations to secure your property to minimize damage.

    • Protect windows with permanent shutters, or sheets of marine plywood cut to fit your windows. Tape is not effective in preventing windows from breaking during a hurricane.
    • Use clips or straps to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure to help reduce roof damage.
    • Trim trees and shrubs around your property.
    • Clear rain gutters and downspouts.

    GATHER ALL NECESSARY DOCUMENTS

    • Be sure you have a certified copy of your insurance policy and declaration page.
    • Contact your insurer to evaluate your plan and coverage.
    • Obtain copies of the most recent appraisals for your home or business.
    • Gather your tax return paperwork for the past five years.
    • If an evacuation is needed, bring a copy of an invoice, utility bill, or other official statements to confirm your address.

    IF DAMAGE OCCURS

    1. Document any sustained damage using photo or video, with a date stamp, if possible. Do this for your home and, if applicable, your business.
    2. Save copies of any receipts of all pre- and post-disaster expenses or purchases, including any checks you write or estimates / invoices you receive.
    3. To mitigate further damage, make temporary repairs to damaged property after you have documented said damage.
    4. Obtain estimates from a LICENSED contractor for repairs.
    5. Document and confirm all conversations you have with your Insurance Provider regarding insurance claims, including conversations with representatives and adjusters. This can be done by written letter or email.
    6. If your business is affected, discuss and document any loss of income with your accountant who can help you accurately calculate the losses..
    7. Be sure to obtain a current financial statement and balance sheet for your company.
    8. Prepare a “Proof of Loss” pursuant to the terms of your insurance policy. This may also include a map of damaged property.

    How A Lawyer Can Help With Your Hurricane Lawsuit

    Insurance claim lawyers help you determine that you actually do have a case. Many times, business and property owners believe they are covered for damages when in fact they are not. At Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor, we can help you down the difficult road to recovery and navigate you through the complicated insurance process following a natural disaster.