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Hurricane Harvey and Commercial Business Insurance Damage Claims

Let The Doan Law Firm protect your rights in a commerical business insurance claim

As we have noted in other posts on this site, the economic damage caused by Hurricane Harvey will be felt for years to come along the coastline communities of southeastern Texas. Although there was considerable damage to private residential and rental property, an often overlooked or underrated impact will also be felt by businesses and commercial property owners as they strive to reopen and provide steady income for themselves and their employees.

In many cases, these businesses will depend on commercial property insurance settlements to offset at least some of the costs of rebuilding. Since there are already reports that some insurers may be attempting to “limit their losses” by using practices that violate both the terms of their contracts with policyholders, the Commercial Insurance Claims lawyer at the Doan Law Firm will give examples of such practices before offering suggestions as to how an insurance claims lawyer can help business owners protect their right to a speedy and fair insurance settlement.

Illegal practices by commercial insurance companies

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the following actions (among many others) on the part of an insurance company are specifically dealt with under Texas law:

  • An insurer, its representative, or any other person, may not misrepresent the terms and provisions of a policy.

An insurer, an insurance adjuster, or investigator cannot deliberately misrepresent the terms of an insured’s coverage for the purpose of deceiving a policyholder as to the extent of that policyholder’s coverage. This is particularly the case if the dollar value of a claim is being “downplayed” or “underestimated” by the carrier or its adjusters.

  • It is inappropriate for insurers to re-rate, cancel, non-renew, or refuse to provide coverage due solely to a policyholder’s status as a victim of Hurricane Harvey.

Unless an insurance premium rate-change, or any other aspect of commercial insurance applies to all policyholders in circumstances similar to yours, your insurer cannot make any significant changes to your existing coverage without the prior approval of the Texas Department of Insurance.

  • Require that a policyholder use only a contractor that has been "approved" by a property insurance carrier.

A property of business owner is free to choose the party to make any repairs that will be covered under the terms of their individual insurance policies. This means that you, not your insurance carrier, has the final say regarding contractors.

  • Any public insurance adjuster (one that is not a regular employee of an insurer) that is also a contractor may not solicit business where that adjuster has the potential to submit bids for repair services.

The Texas Department of Insurance considers an adjuster that is also a construction or repair contractor to have a potential “conflict of interest” in such matters and specifically prohibits such adjusters or their employees from bidding on jobs where such adjusters also gave repair estimates to an insurer.

If an insurance company uses, or attempts to use, any of the above-listed practices it may be guilty of breaching its contractual duty toward its policyholders. If it can be proven in court that an insurer willfully and knowingly used such “bad faith” tactics, that insurer may be liable for damages far in excess of the money it attempted to save for itself.

How the Doan Law Firm can help businesses that may have problems with commercial insurance claims

In most cases involving disputed commercial insurance damage claims, it can be shown that an insurance company failed to “act in good faith” when attempting to resolve any disagreement between itself and the property owner. As we discussed on a previous post, “How to Deal with 'Bad Faith' Insurance Claims,” insurance companies will often resort to any tactic that they believe they "can get away" with when they are faced with having to pay substantial claims such as those that will result from Hurricane Harvey.

At the Doan Law Firm, we have had success in forcing insurance carriers to meet their obligations to policyholders. In many cases, we have done so by negotiating a settlement on behalf of our clients but we are always willing to have a Texas jury decide the matter in a court of law. In either case, the Doan law Firm is always ready to represent anyone or any business that feels it was victimized by an insurance company.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of an insurance company that is attempting to pressure you into an unfair claim settlement, we urge you to contact the Insurance Claims lawyer at the Doan Law Firm to arrange a free review of your case and advice on how to best protect your legal rights in a Texas court of law.

The Doan Law Firm 1 Riverway Suite 2325 Houston, Texas 77056 (832) 835-0000

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

After an accident, the responsible party's insurance company may try to reduce the claim amount. Commonly, insurance adjusters are trained to get information from the injured to assist in reducing the claim. Though some insurers are less guilty of this practice than others, it is important to realize that insurance companies are profit-oriented corporations and reducing claims results in increased profits for shareholders. This can create a situation for the injured in which they are offered a settlement that does not truly reflect the damages suffered. If you accept this settlement, you lose the ability to get more money should your injuries require further medical treatments. It is critical that victims get legal assistance in any personal injury case, and The Doan Law Firm is prepared to fight relentlessly for your rights.

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