Property insurance policyholders — in Texas and elsewhere — are unfortunately subject to significant pressures when their insurer wrongfully denies, delays, or undervalues the payout of their legitimate property insurance claim. Damage to a residence or commercial property can have a substantial impact on one’s living situation and income. When an insurer handles the property insurance claim in a manner that interferes with the policyholder’s ability to recover from their various losses, this can put the individual or company in an incredibly challenging situation.
Insurers often advertise themselves as the “allies” of their policyholders, but the unfortunate truth is that most insurers will do everything within their (legal) power to avoid having to payout the claims filed by their policyholders. Challenging this dynamic is possible with the aid of an experienced property insurance attorney.
Bad Faith Potential
In Texas, as in other states, insurers have a duty of good faith in their dealings with policyholders. If this duty is violated, the policyholder may file a bad faith claim against their insurer if the conduct of the insurer was unreasonable given the circumstances. In the property insurance context, insurers must:
- Process claims without causing an unreasonable delay.
- Explain the reasoning behind the valuation.
- Explain the reasoning behind a claim denial.
- Properly investigate the claim (in a timely manner).
- Avoid wrongfully denying a claim.
- Avoid misrepresenting information relating to the property insurance claim.
- Intimidate or otherwise interfere with the policyholder’s ability to file a legitimate property insurance claim.
- And more.
Exclusionary clauses are often used (and abused) by insurers to restrict their policyholders’ ability to recover. An exclusionary clause is of prime importance, as it defines the boundaries for what is qualified subject matter for insurance coverage. Oftentimes, the application of an exclusionary clause that is ambiguously worded can result in the unexpected denial of a legitimate property insurance claim.
The rule in Texas — and many other states — is actually quite favorable to policyholders,. Ambiguous exclusionary clauses are to be interpreted in a manner that is most favorable to the policyholder. This rule has the effect of limiting the ability of Texas insurers to induce policyholders into ambiguous insurance coverage and then unexpectedly deny their claims at a later date. With the aid of a skilled attorney, you can challenge the denial of your claim and compel a more favorable reading of the exclusionary clause at-issue.
In their attempts to sidestep illegitimate claims and minimize their total liabilities, insurers are often overzealous in their consideration of legitimate property insurance claims brought by policyholders. Property insurance claims tend to be rarer — and more significant — than most other insurance claims, which lends itself more readily to the abuse of an insurer. If you have had your home rendered inhabitable due to some unexpected event, then the insurer’s denial of coverage may leave you without the funds necessary to correct the issue and find an alternative residence.
The attorneys at Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP have decades of experience representing clients in a range of property insurance litigation and various other insurance disputes. We have a results-focused outlook, and our track record speaks to our effectiveness in the insurance litigation context.
We recognize that clients have unique limitations, preferences, and objectives. As such, we are committed to the provision of dynamic legal representation that is customized to the particular needs of each client. Our attorneys work closely with clients to develop customized fee arrangements that are suitable for a range of budgets. Call us at (713) 526-0200 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.