Monday, February 16, 2009

Thousands of Claims from Hurricane Ike Still Unresolved


Right after Hurricane Ike hit Texas and devastated the Galveston area as well as caused great damage in and around Houston, I used this blog to urge readers to file their insurance claims as quickly as possible. Other recent natural disasters in our country had proven that the agencies responsible for distributing money had not been as efficient in processing claims as many home and business owners would have liked. So, the faster you could submit your paperwork and the more thorough you could be in detailing the damage, the better your chances were of receiving a timely settlement. Five months after Ike made its presence felt in Texas, thousands of claims are still awaiting payouts so the the rebuilding process can begin.

The Texas Windstorm Association, which is responsible for processing this essential paperwork, shares that 10,500 pending claims are still without resolution either because they involve large commercial cases or the policyholders have not effectively proven whether the damage to their property was caused by wind or storm damage. If wind is determined to be the culprit, compensation will be given for the damage. On the other hand, problems caused by storm surge are not protected. In some instances, detailed computer modeling is taking place to conclude which act of nature destroyed someone's property. There also are issues of inexperienced adjusters who have been given an overwhelming task, people not understanding the specifics of what is covered by their insurance policies, and disputes over how much reconstruction actually needs to occur.

Many private insurers have gotten out of the business of protecting against hurricanes due to the high risk, and the Texas Windstorm Association has filled this gap by becoming the largest writer of windstorm insurance. Amazingly, even while trying to process the thousands of existing claims, the windstorm pool receives 150 new claims every week. This startling fact brings me back to my recommendation to make insurance claims a top priority after any disaster.

If you are battling insurance agents and believe that you are not receiving the compensation that you deserve, the attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. Please contact our Austin, Houston, or San Antonio office today and let's review your situation.

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