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The first seven days: Resources for policyholders in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey



It has become almost a week since Hurricane Harvey came and fell into the Texas coast as a storm in category 4. Since that time, parts of Texas and Louisiana have been flooded with flood waters that Harvey continues to pose. Despite the fact that many of the victims have not been able to reach their homes or businesses to fully assess the damage due to the roads and flood waters, insurers whose company or home was on the road would report their insurers in writing now. The first written notice should include the following information:

  • Name and contact details of the insured;
  • Location of the loss,
  • Date and time of the loss (to the extent known); and
  • A brief description of the loss.

It is important that most property insurance policies, including those that interrupt business interruptions, may contain restrictions when a notification must be submitted. While these time limits vary from policy to policy, it cannot lead to no coverage if the failure is not timely. In addition, as many media have reported, Texas recently adopted a charter (House Bill 1

774) which restricts certain property remedies for insurance claims made after September 1. Importantly, these restrictions do not apply to policies issued by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association or issued through the National Flood Insurance Program. Policyholders should not, however, be discouraged if they were unable to file a claim before September 1, as long as they notify the insurer in writing as soon as possible of following the policy's notice of termination. While House Bill 1774 lowers the statutory interest rate applicable to claims made on September 1, 2017, when an insurer does not immediately pay a claim in Texas and possibly lower the legal fees that can be recovered from the insurer in some cases, eliminate these penalties altogether. The Texas Department of Insurance has created a website specifically addressing Hurricane Harvey Relief and House Bill 1774. Visit their "Help after Harvey" website for more information.

In addition, the members of the Hunton Insurance Team have worked with the American Bar Association Insurance Coverage and Trial Committee (ICLC) and the Standing Committee on Disaster Response and readiness to provide additional resources for those affected. More information is available at www.ambar.org/harvey. Members of the Hunton Insurance Team have also worked with ICLC to create a checklist of data to submit and send property damage and residence damages. The checklist and further Harvey Resources can be found on the ICLC website.

For more information, visit our Hurricane Insurance Recovery and Advisory Center.


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