Tuesday, October 24, 2017
   
Insurance Sidebar :: Amy Stewart PC’s Law Blog on Insurance Coverage Issues Minimize

Category: DTPA

New Texas Hail Law Restricts Property Policyholder Rights Far Beyond Hail Claims

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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Insured’s Duty to Read Policy May be Undercut by Agent's Misrepresentations, Appeals Court Affirms

Insurance policyholders should always read their policies, but a recent ruling out of Texas’ 14th Court of Appeals may provide support to those who rely on insurance agents for information regarding their policies.

Insureds often misunderstand the terms of an insurance policy or argue that they have been misled by an insurer’s or an agent’s statements regarding a policy’s terms or coverage. In these disputes, defendants often raise as a defense the insured’s duty to read its policy. The court’s Oct 18 ruling in ruling in 
Wyly v. Integrity Insurance Solutions, No. 14-15-0042-CV, reiterated the rule under Texas law that this defense fails where an insured has alleged or shown that an insurance agent has made a specific, affirmative misrepresentation about the policy.

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Buckle Up: More Independent Injury Turbulence

Churning the already choppy seas of Insurance Code damages case law, the Dallas Division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas recently issued an opinion in Charla G. Aldous PC and Charla Aldous v. Teresa Lugo and Darwin National Assurance Company, supporting the Fifth Circuit’s so-called “independent injury requirement.” 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 159684 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 12, 2014).

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Amy Stewart Law is a boutique law firm that represents policyholders in insurance coverage litigation and bad faith, with an emphasis in directors & officers liability, cyber insurance, fiduciary liability, professional liability and other specialty liability coverages.


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  • insurance coverage litigation
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