Latest News


Court Hammers Roofer Who Was Acting as an Adjuster

September 25th, 2017 By Sarah Scott

Insurers have frequently battled with sometimes-unscrupulous parties who encourage homeowners to file claims for unneeded repairs. (These battles, in fact, spurred recent legislation that you can read about on our blog here and here.) A recent decision out of the Fort Worth Court of Appeals makes it clear that contractors who try to get around regulations for public adjusters – in other words, who offer to do work and seek payment from insurance companies – do so at their own
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Anti-Concurrent Causation Clause Renders “Status” Analysis in Surface Water Exclusion Largely Immaterial

September 6th, 2017 By Jeffrey C. Glass

Unfortunately for many homeowners recovering from Hurricane Harvey-related flooding, most Texas homeowners’ policies will not provide coverage for their claims. Damage caused by floods and surface water is excluded regardless of any other contributing cause of the loss. This was not always the case. In State Farm Lloyds v. Marchetti, 962 S.W.2d 58, 61 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 1997, pet. denied), the Court ruled that a surface water or flood exclusion did not apply to damage to a house resulting
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More on Harvey

September 1st, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

Please join Bill Chriss and Catherine Hanna on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Central time for a State Bar sponsored webcast as we discuss the new legislation affecting property insurance claims, as well as legal and practical pointers for handling or defending hurricane, flood, and other catastrophe claims. The Texas State Bar is offering this webcast for free. You can register here:


Hurricanes and Hailstorms – What’s New and What’s True

August 31st, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

We’ve seen some misinformation floating around regarding the effect of the recent Hailstorm Bill on insurance claims. The Hailstorm Bill applies to all claims for property damage caused by forces of nature, including earthquake, earth tremor, wildfire, flood, tornado, lightning, hurricane, hail, wind, snowstorm, or rainstorm. The new legislation will apply to lawsuits filed on or after September 1, 2017. Although all major provisions of the Hailstorm Bill apply to suits filed on or after September 1, 2017, the change
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Hurricane Harvey Hits Home

August 28th, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

It’s been a soggy weekend here in Central Texas, but our thoughts and prayers are with our friends, family, and colleagues on the Texas coast and in the Houston area as they deal with the devastation of the hurricane and the horrific flooding that Houston continues to experience. We are heartened by the response of our fellow Texans, as first-responders and civilians risk life and limb to help those in need of rescue. We know that this is a scary
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Sanctions Order Illustrates Misconduct of Policyholder Attorneys in Hail Cases

August 23rd, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

We’ve posted before about the attorney misconduct the recent hail reform bills aimed to curb. A recent sanctions order by United States District Judge Alia Moses illustrates how these practices can harm the judicial system and the policyholders these attorneys represent. This story in the Southeast Texas Record has a good overview, but we highly recommend reading the sanctions order itself. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, case No. 2:15-cv-00092-AM-CW. In the
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BBQ Season Brings Coverage Conundrum

July 26th, 2017 By Anne-Marie Abarado

It’s camping and barbecue season, and that usually involves more propane gas usage.  Injuries resulting from the emission of propane gas may not be covered under certain insurance policies.  Commercial general liability, homeowner, and auto insurance policies often have a pollution exclusion which excludes coverage for damage to property or injuries resulting from certain pollutants. Propane is classified as an asphyxiant gas and exposure to levels above 2,100 ppm is considered immediately dangerous to life or health. See The National
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Menchaca At Work: Houston Court Strengthens Appraisal Defenses, Requires Independent Injury for EC Claims

July 11th, 2017 By Eric S. Peabody

Even before the dust has settled on the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in USAA v. Menchaca, — S.W.3d —, 2017 WL 1311752 (Tex. Apr. 7, 2017, mot. reh’g filed), Texas intermediate appellate courts are busily construing its holdings. In National Security Fire & Casualty Co. v. Hurst, No. 14-15-00714-CV, 2017 WL 2258243 (Houston [14th Dist.] May 23, 2017, n.p.h.), the court used Menchaca to reverse a judgment in favor of the insured and render judgment for the carrier in a
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Great American Ins. Co. v. Hamel: The “Fully Adversarial Trial” On Trial

June 27th, 2017 By Jeffrey C. Glass

In the much-anticipated Hamel decision, the Texas Supreme Court finally addressed the definition of a “fully adversarial trial” under the Gandy rule, holding that a reviewing court must focus on the insured’s incentives to contest liability, rather than on retroactive evaluation of tactical trial details.   Great American Ins. Co., et al v. Hamel, — S.W.3d –, No. 14-1007, 2017 WL 2623067  (Tex. June 16, 2017) (citing State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Gandy, 925 S.W.2d 696, 714 (Tex. 1996)). The decision
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