HB 1774 does not change the insurance claims process. A person making a claim with her insurance company after September 1, 2017 will go through the same process as a person making a claim before September 1, 2017.
The new law applies only to a lawsuit that is filed against an insurance company by a policyholder when the policyholder's insurance claim is not timely paid or is underpaid, or when the insurance company acts in bad faith in dealing with the policyholder's claim. Lawsuits are the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of Texans will go through the regular insurance claims process without needing to file a lawsuit.
Texans continue to have the strongest consumer protections in the nation against insurance companies. This includes the full recovery of amounts owed under an insurance policy, plus penalty interest, court costs, and attorney fees. Additionally, if the insurance company acts fraudulently or in bad faith, Texans may recover triple the amount of their actual damages, which is unchanged by the new statute.
The primary purpose of the new statute is to require written notice of a dispute before a lawsuit is filed. If a lawsuit is filed, it would happen months or years after the initial claim was made with the insurance company. Nothing in the new law passed by the Legislature earlier this year requires that the initial insurance claim be made in writing or by a specific date.
Furthermore, the new law will not apply to most claims or lawsuits arising from Harvey, because most of the policyholders' claims will be for damage caused by flooding. These claims will be made under the federal flood insurance program and governed by federal law. Similarly, the new law will not apply to lawsuits pursued against the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), which is subject to an entirely different statute governing post-disaster lawsuits. TWIA provides insurance for many people affected by Harvey. The new law is designed to do two important things:
1. Discourage the feeding frenzy by lawyers and contractors following natural events occurring in Texas over the past several years. These unscrupulous actors have taken advantage of thousands of hard-working Texans over the past several years.
2. Encourage out-of-state insurance adjusters to come work in Texas following a massive disaster like Harvey. In the following days and weeks, it will be critically important for out-of-state adjusters to work in Texas to ensure that insurance claims are evaluated and paid in a timely manner.
In sum, the new law does not affect the claims process. Instead, it affects only the lawsuits that sometimes follow the claims process. Furthermore, it does not create a new deadline for action by policyholders.
If you have a recently bound policy that has a claim due to Hurricane Harvey, and you have not received your policy please notify us immediately so that we can rush policy issuance and send to you as soon as possible.
Our process is fast and simple. Just follow these steps:
1) Go to: www.mhi-mga.com and click on the ‘Hurricane Harvey Claims Reporting' button located at the top of the page.
2) Type in the policy number, then select type of loss from the drop down selection. **If you are unable to access our website or you cannot remember your policy number please call 1-866-203-3099 extension 217
3) Fill out the claim form and hit ‘submit' at the bottom of the page.
4) You will receive a claim acknowledgement via email.
5) If you are unable to access our website please contact MHI's Hurricane Harvey Claims Hotline: 1-866-203-3099 extension 217 - Please leave your name, policy number and telephone number. MHI's offices are in the path of the storm. If our website goes down please continue to follow us on social media.
6) Other helpful resources available during the storm: American Red Cross, www.redcross.org and Federal Emergency Management Agency www.fema.org.
NOTE: We may experience a high volume of claims from this storm; we ask for your patience, an adjuster will make contact with you as soon as they can. To help mitigate your damages, we encourage you to make temporary repairs where needed, take lots of photos and keep all receipts for consideration.
Lisa Barnes, CPCU, ARe, AU, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of McClelland & Hine. Lisa has been in the industry for 35 years and with MHI for 26 years. Lisa is an active member of AAMGA and NAPSLO, and she formerly served on the BOD for the Alamo Chapter CPCU.
Amicia Hine has been promoted to President/CEO of McClelland & Hine. Amicia started her career with MHI in 1994 and has held various positions throughout the company. She holds a degree in Industrial Psychology with a minor in Business, and she currently holds the position of Legislative Chair and BOD member for TSLA and legislative committee member for NAPSLO.
"Both are passionate about and actively involved in the Surplus lines industry. Combined they have 49 years working at MHI, and we are proud and excited that they will be helping to lead the next generation of MHI.” –Gil Hine, McClelland & Hine, Inc.; Chairman of the Board; Chief Strategic Officer
"We are all very excited about the future of MHI!” – Shannon Dahlke, McClelland & Hine, Inc.; Vice President/Houston branch manager; Atlanta branch manager
"Amicia and Lisa are well prepared and deserving of their new roles within McClelland and Hine. Following Gil, their dedication and visionary leadership will lead to continued success of MHI.” – Lorrie Cheshier, McClelland & Hine, Inc.; Vice President/San Antonio branch manager
"Amicia has been a big part of MHI for a very long while and her promotion to CEO is well deserved. I look forward to being part of her leadership team and seeing where she takes us. Lisa's promotion to COO is well deserved and overdue. She has played an instrumental part of the growing success of MHI. There is no doubt in my mind with these promotion's MHI will be in good hands for a long time to come.” – Lynn Bordelon, McClelland & Hine, Inc.; Vice President/Dallas branch manager
Lorrie Cheshier, San Antonio Branch Manager, has been elected to serve on the board of directors for the Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLSOT) for 2017.
Shannon Dahlke Applegate, Houston Branch Manager, has been elected to serve on the board of directors for the American Association of Managing General Agents (AAMGA) for 2017.
Please join us in congratulating these two ladies on a job well done!
Please do not hesitate to reach out to MHI’s Excess Division if you have any questions.
David Jones, VP of Excess and Brokerage Casualty, email@example.com
Erika Apuan, Excess Casualty Underwriter, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amber Carroll, Excess and Brokerage casualty underwriting assistant, email@example.com.
As always MHI looks forward to the opportunity to help you place your business.
Vacant Buildings and Commercial Property Insurance Policies- Concerns and Consequences. Click here to learn more!
Check out MHI’s new eSign feature on our Artisan Contractor E-Quote module. This exciting new feature allows you to request and obtain -- via e-mail -- an electronic signature on the Terrorism Form (TRIA). The eSign option will pop up when the TRIA form link is clicked. You can customize the message the insured will see or use the standard verbiage that is already provided. You can even copy, paste and send the link from within your own e-mail. Either way, the insured will see only your contact information and once he completes the electronic signature, notification is automatically sent to both you and MHI so you’ll no longer have to worry about forwarding the signed form when you receive it. eSign is incredibly simple-just a couple of clicks and you’re done! Imagine…no more time wasted chasing down the signed TRIA form plus no more cancellation notices for failure to obtain the signed form. You still have the option to decline the eSign feature and print a hard copy of the TRIA form, but eSign is so easy…why not give it a try with your next artisan contractor binder request? Contact your MHI underwriter for more information or just click here for step by step instructions.
Remember mail handling in the “good ol’ days”? It consisted of paying someone to drive to the post office, pick up the mail, drive back from the post office, open the mail, stamp it, sort it, scan it, route it, deliver it, etc., etc…
What if instead, you:
MHI can also offer e-mail notification in batches. Policy and endorsement retrieval e-mails are queued throughout the day and then transmitted to your office in bulk at night. This can help reduce e-mail traffic during the busiest times of your work-day. Contact your MHI branch manager or marketing representative for more information or to sign up for this free service.