AUSTIN – The House Calendars Committee voted to advance House Bill 1774, commonly called the hailstorm lawsuit bill, on Thursday.

A hearing has been set for May 4.

Groups such as Texans for Lawsuit Reform believe the consumer protection bill will stop rampant weather-related lawsuit abuse.

"The House Calendars Committee today took an important step to protect Texans from storm-chasing lawyers and from insurers who unfairly deny and delay claims," said Lucy Nashed, TLR’s communications director. "We appreciate the committee's quick action to stop this blatant lawsuit abuse and send this bill to a vote in the House."

The Texas Department of Insurance recently found the rate of weather-related lawsuits increased 1,400 percent statewide after 2011. As a result, at least 12 insurers have raised their rates for homeowners’ insurance and seven have reduced, limited or stopped writing policies in Texas.

“Today’s vote is another step in the right direction to stop this type of hail litigation abuse. It’s clear there is a problem that needs to be addressed, and we commend the House Calendars Committee for taking up this important issue to protect Texans from those trying to take advantage of them,” said Joe Woods, vice president, state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

“HB 1774 protects consumers from certain roofing contractors, public adjusters and plaintiffs’ attorneys who mislead storm victims and promise big payouts without any cost.

“Texans need peace of mind that their insurance claims will be settled quickly and efficiently. This bill helps to stop the lawsuit abuses by storm-chasing lawyers while ensuring that policyholders still have all their legal rights if they feel their insurer acted in bad faith.”

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