Category: Hot News
It is really no big surprise that the state of Texas was once again officially named the most severe weather state in the country and is the only state with exposure to nine different types of natural disasters.
As if Texas hasn’t already seen enough weather-related destruction this year, hurricane season officially kicked off June 1.
Even though hurricane season has been in full swing, Texas already has been hit hard by Mother Nature this year, from heavy rains to tornados to violent hailstorms. By mid April, insured losses in Texas already had met the nine-year average for hailstorm damage in the United States. And that was before San Antonio suffered three hailstorms – including one that was the costliest hailstorm in Texas history – with estimated insured losses to automobiles and homes and businesses reaching $1.9 billion.
While the No. 13 my be unlucky for some, State Farm Lloyds, a primary target for storm litigation the past several years, recently secured its 13th consecutive win, with a Harris County jury finding the insurer honored its policy.
Seeking up to $200,000 in relief, Martha Toloudis sued State Farm and its adjuster, Dewella Lee, in October 2014, alleging the defendants “set out to deny properly covered damages.”
Toloudis’ suit is one of thousands that continue to be filed against Texas insurers in mass following storm strikes in the Lone Star State.
Her case went to trial in late September and ended a few days later with another State Farm defense verdict — its 13th straight victory.
Damaging hail storms and wide-spread flooding have caused record setting losses for both homes and automobiles this year in Texas, according to a state insurance trade group.
This year’s insured losses for the first two quarters already surpass every year’s total losses dating back to Hurricane Ike in 2008, the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) reports.
“Hailstorms have already totaled $4 billion for residential property losses alone in Texas this year,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the ICT. “Hail and flooding has caused more than $1 billion in auto losses. This year’s losses for both home and auto have doubled the annual losses we have seen in the past several years.”
The Texas Department of Insurance offers the best online consumer assistance of any insurance department in the nation, according to an analysis by NerdWallet released this week.
TDI received high marks from the personal finance website for providing auto and home insurance rate comparisons online. Out of 51 insurance department reviewed, TDI was one of only nine to offer 2015 complaint data online for companies selling auto, health, homeowners, and life policies.
“We found most of these websites fall short in serving consumers by not providing key information, such as insurer rate comparisons and complaint data, as well as easy access to consumer assistance and educational materials,” the report stated. “But we also identified states like Texas, whose insurance department website is a model of excellence.”