Storms bring increase in claims but few complaints

David Yates Feb. 3, 2016, 10:37am


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While Texas weather catastrophes caused a huge jump in homeowner insurance claims last year, the number of complaints that sometimes follow are low in comparison.

Despite an increase of 120,000 claims from 2014, the number of policyholder complaints increased by only 14, according to a Feb. 2 press release, issued by the Insurance Council of Texas.

The increase in weather-related claims last year is blamed for a slight increase in the number of complaints against auto and homeowner insurance companies in 2015. The number of complaints in both homeowners and auto is less than one percent of all claims filed.

Last year, there were more than 6 million homeowner insurance policies and 13.5 million auto policies in effect in Texas.

According to the Property Claim Services, in 2015, more than 465,000 homeowner claims were filed with insurance companies and only 318 justified complaints were received by the Texas Department of Insurance.

The number of justified complaints is nearly the same as in 2014, when an estimated 345,000 homeowner claims resulted in only 304 homeowner complaints.

This was the first time in six years that the number of Texas homeowner complaints had risen, the press release states.

“Last year, the number of homeowner claims filed with insurers represented a 35 percent increase over the previous year,” said Mark Hanna, ICT spokesman.

“Texas led the nation in both catastrophic weather claims and insured losses, and insurers did a good job handling the increased claims load. As a result, we saw only minimal increases in justified complaints filed with TDI for both homeowners and auto claims. Complaints remain among the lowest levels in many years.”

Policyholders may file a complaint if there is a disagreement over how a claim is handled or resolved.

TDI said the top three reasons for both auto and homeowner complaints were delays in handling claims, customer service, or an unsatisfactory settlement or offer.

“If a homeowner can’t work out their differences with their insurance company, help is available from TDI,” said Hanna.

TDI makes it easy to file a complaint either by phone, online, or via mail.

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Texas Department of Insurance
333 Guadalupe St
Austin, TX 78701

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