SE Texas Record

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Texas lawyers are showing insurers the Doors

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By The SE Texas Record | Dec 13, 2016

Lawyers chasing storms
Lawyers chasing storms

Into this court we're borne
Into this suit we're drawn

When a policy on a home

Covers damage from hail stones

Lawyers chasing storms

We apologize to the late Jim Morrison for the liberties taken with “Riders on the Storm,” but you must admit that the version we created with unaltered consciousness makes considerably more sense and actually communicates something.

Certain lawyers do chase storms, and they do solicit clients for suits against insurance companies whenever a big one blows through, by trying to convince the policyholders that the settlements offered are insufficient – or by just claiming to represent homeowners they've never even met with.

In the last five years, the problem has gotten out of hand. At a recent meeting of the Texas House Insurance Committee, Lee Parsley of Texans for Lawsuit Reform pointed out that the number of hail lawsuits against Texas insurers doubled each year from 2011 through 2014, going from hundreds per year at the beginning of that period to nearly 11,000 at the end.

“These are lawyers chasing storms,” Parsley charged. “The game is to file as many lawsuits as you can and overwhelm the insurance companies, overwhelm the system, and in every case overstate the damages by the largest number you can.”

Insurers paid a record $1.9 billion in losses in 2015 – and broke that record in the first half of this year with a payout of $3.2 billion.

“We are seeing an enormous spike in lawsuits following hail and wind events in Texas … and we can find no explanation other than lawyer activity,” Parsley commented. “It is a tort tax. It is a hidden tax upon all of us when there is abuse … and it is a drag on our economy.”

It'll be an even bigger drag when storm coverage is no longer offered. The Texas Department of Insurance reported at the meeting that some insurers are cutting back already.

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