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Most Harvey flood victims on hook to pay for home repairs

30 Août 2017

Reuters reported that Kai Pan, an insurance analyst at Morgan Stanley, wrote in a research note: “We think Harvey could help stabilise global reinsurance pricing, but do not expect a major turn in pricing to follow.”.

"For our own book of business, maybe 1 in 4 of our homeowners actually selects the [National] Flood Insurance Program".

Any claims initiated by then fall under current law.

The law in question is Texas House Bill 1774, which the Republican-majority Texas legislature passed during its most recent legislative session.

The Texas House of Representatives released a statement combating claims that homeowners must submit claims to their insurance company before September 1.

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, who carried the bill in the Senate, emphasized that he now is focused on the storm and making sure Texans get out of harm's way. "Do not return to seriously damaged property unless you are informed that it is safe".

Analyst Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods a note Monday morning also said it is early in the process but that damages may exceed initial projections, which were in "low nine figures". TWIA does not cover storm surge/flood damage, and flood insurance does not cover wind damage. "You just need to say "there's damage to my home" and send it to the insurance company". So far, 15 trillion gallons of water has fallen on the Houston area, flooding thousands of homes and businesses - and more is expected.

The goal was to cut down on excessive lawsuits, many related to hail storms.

The new law could reduce the amount of interest insurance companies have to pay to homeowners if they take too long to pay for a claim. That interest rate will drop to 10 percent under the new law.

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Insurance and reinsurance companies, many based in Bermuda, are bracing themselves to pick up some of the cost. By doing so, those policyholders will preserve their ability to collect an 18 percent penalty interest rate that insurance companies have to pay when they fail to pay a legitimate claim "timely and fully".

Hancock noted Texans can still sue, as well, if an insurance company "acts in bad faith".

"We will help those affected by this awful disaster. Most importantly it prevents property owners from being swindled by a select few unethical roofers, public adjusters, and lawyers". She added that "the vast majority of Texans" won't end up filing a lawsuit - and won't be affected by the new law.

State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Fort Worth, opposed this measure.

“While flooding is not covered under homeowners insurance (it is sold by the government), it is covered under commercial insurance and could result in meaningful losses for the commercial reinsurers and insurers.”.

Texas attorneys have been posting messages online, particularly on Facebook, encouraging Texans to get their claims in - if at all possible - before Friday.

However, these changes do not mean that people should rush to their homes now to try to inspect the damage, especially in areas where the flood waters are still rising.Winslow said a simple written notice like an email, fax or letter to an insurance company that you are intending to file a claim will suffice. But lawmakers worry about angering homeowners who are required to buy flood insurance, and that expensive policies would only discourage other people from buying them. "Almost all homeowners can get coverage", he said.

Hanna said it is impossible to know what insured losses will mount to, although it is expected to easily be in the billions of dollars and potentially record-setting. "Insurance companies are notorious for denying claims just to see who will pursue them".

"Ask them to re-evaluate it, ask for a lawyer, but don't take no for an answer", Smith said.

Most Harvey flood victims on hook to pay for home repairs