The legislature recently passed a new insurance law that will go into effect in Texas on September 1, 2017. One of the effects of this new law is to reduce the penalty assessed against insurers that fail to promptly pay a claim from 18% to approximately half that amount.
While there is little we can do to avoid much of the pro-insurance language in the new law, we believe filing a claim against an insurance company before September 1, 2017 should allow you to preserve your right to claim the 18% penalty against an insurance company under the old law.
File Your Insurance Claim in Writing
Because this law goes into effect in only a few days, the timing of when you file your claim will be extremely important. It is in your best interest to create documentary evidence proving that you submitted your claim before September 1, 2017. Submitting your claim in writing by certified mail or some other form of delivery system with tracking is the best option. However, it may be difficult to utilize those methods in the coming week. As an alternative, you could submit your claim by fax, email or some other electronic means. If you choose one of these options, you should obtain a verification or receipt to demonstrate that the insurance company received your claim.
Sample Notice of Claim
Below is an example of a simple notice you could send to your insurance carrier:
NOTICE OF CLAIM
Name of Homeowner(s)/Insured(s):
Date of Loss:
To Whom It May Concern:
Please consider this letter to be formal written “notice of claim” for the property listed above pursuant to the Texas Insurance Code, Section 542. The property described above has received damage, and we request that you immediately begin an investigation to explore the extent of that damage to that property. It is further requested that you open a claim and acknowledge receipt of this notice of claim
Thank you for your cooperation, and please contact me to discuss any documentation or statements you may need.
Insurance Company Phone Numbers
If you need to contact your insurance company to discuss where to submit your claim, the numbers below may be useful: