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Houstonians Face Potential Hurdles in Handling Flood Claim

Houston was recently hit by severe storms and flooding. Many homes along the bayous that give the city its nickname were inundated with many feet of water. Recovering from such a catastrophe is difficult and can be time consuming. As part of that process, victims of flood or storm losses must file claims with their insurance company. The claims process involves the insurance company sending an adjuster and determining the size of the insured's loss. Insureds can protect themselves by documenting their loss themselves with pictures and videos.

On May 28, 2015, FEMA extended the Proof of Loss form deadline from 60 days to 240 days making the new deadline date January 20, 2016. The extension does not extend the insurance companies' time to pay a valid claim. Under section 542.058 of the "Texas Insurance Code", insurance companies are given a reasonable amount of time to make payments of claims after receiving required documents from claimants. If an insurer delays payment beyond the reasonable time given, there can be financial consequences.

Another reason is that some valid flood claims are wrongfully denied. Denial of a claim, however, is not the end of the rope. When an insurance company decides to deny any claim, it assumes the risk that the denial is wrong. This subjects the insurance company to liability and it will have to pay more than it would if the company had honored the valid claim.

Lastly, some adjusters underestimate the cost of recovery. If an insurance company fails to provide a reasonable payment, under the Texas Insurance Code, they again may face financial consequences.

If you, or someone you love, suffered a loss that has been wrongfully denied or whose payment has been wrongfully delayed by the insurance company, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-396-3964 or 1-800-594-4884.

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