Last week, we wrote a post about a number of bulletins of potential interest to property insurers issued by the Texas Department of Insurance concerning the appropriate conduct of those involved in the insurance claims process in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The Texas DOI has continued its response to Hurricane Harvey, issuing two new bulletins in the last week.
Bulletin B-0021-17: This bulletin addresses situations in which an insured has suffered a flood loss that is not covered by their property insurance policy. In such a situation, and where insurers are responding to flood inquiries and flood claims from their insureds, the Texas DOI is encouraging those insurers to provide additional information to their insureds about potential assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The bulletin also encourages insurers to provide their insureds with contact information for FEMA, including the www.disasterassistance.gov website.
Bulletin B-0022-17: This bulletin concerns the time limits imposed by the Texas Insurance Code on insurers responding to claims arising from Hurricane Harvey. The bulletin states that the Texas DOI has issued an order determining that “the weather-related event that occurred August 25, 2017, through August 31, 2017” in more than fifty enumerated Texas counties “is a catastrophe for the purposes of claim processing.” As a result of that determination, claims resulting from Hurricane Harvey in those counties are subject to the additional time allowed for claims processing authorized by Texas Insurance Code § 542.059. That section of the code provides, among other things, that in the event of a catastrophe, claims handling guidelines imposed on insurers are extended for an additional fifteen days.
We will provide summaries of any further bulletins from the Texas Department of Insurance relating to property insurance as they are issued.