On May 26, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law House Bill 1774, a tort-reform bill that limits a policyholder’s ability to sue its insurer for mishandling property claims arising from natural disasters. Designed to curb the exploitation of storm victims and insurance companies by the plaintiff’s bar, the new law significantly undercuts incentives for insurers to act responsibly, while making it more difficult for policyholders to hold insurers accountable for improper delays and failing to pay claims.Although popularly referred to as a “hailstorm” bill, the law applies more broadly to any “first-party claim . . . made by an insured” under a property insurance policy that “arises from damage to or loss of covered property caused, wholly or partly, by forces of nature, including an earthquake or earth tremor, a wildfire, a flood, a tornado, lightning, a hurricane, hail, wind, a snowstorm, or a rainstorm.” Tex. Ins. Code § 542A.001(2).

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