Capitol Update: Your Insurance Policy

February 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

Did you know that Texas homeowners pay some of the highest property insurance premiums in the country? With our wide-ranging severe weather, these rates are an unfortunate fact of living in a state otherwise known for its strong economy and reasonable cost of living.

The Texas Legislature certainly can’t control the weather, but we can crack down on a commonplace practice called “storm chasing” that’s making your insurance costs even higher than they need to be. Storm chasers are unethical lawyers, roofers, and public adjusters who work together to recruit homeowners in a neighborhood affected by severe weather, urging them to file unnecessary lawsuits instead of moving through their insurers’ claims process. Sometimes these lawsuits over a hail-damaged roof, for example, result in payouts higher than the value of the home. Explain that one! Why should this matter to you? Because this small group of bad actors end up driving up costs for everyone.

Governor Abbott mentioned the problem in his recent State of the State address:

“One reason Texas attracts so many jobs is because of the strides we’ve made on tort reform. But our work is not done. Hailstorm litigation is the newest form of lawsuit abuse. To reduce the economic havoc, I want legislation on my desk that limits abusive hailstorm litigation.”

Our office, working together with House and Senate colleagues alike, intends to put that legislation on Governor Abbott’s desk. This week, we filed Senate Bill 10 to bring some common sense reforms to the property insurance litigation process.

As seen in the picture above, Lieutenant Governor Patrick joined us at the press conference announcing this new legislation. We appreciate the Lieutenant Governor’s leadership on this issue and encourage you to watch his video statement about the bill.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this issue, and as always, please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have questions or feedback on the legislation. Have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Kelly Hancock
State Senator, District 9

P.S. In Fort Bend County, storm chasing is happening as we speak. This video clip from a local news affiliate explains.


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