Storm Damage Claims Denied as Deadline Looms

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Deadlines to file claims for a series of storms in April and May 2011 are fast approaching, and attorney Jeff Raizner warns that insurance companies are delaying claims to avoid paying.

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It’s important to get an honest assessment of the damages before making a decision to accept an improper payment offer from an insurance company.

Severe hail and windstorms racked the Dallas-Fort Worth in spring 2011, and the two-year deadline to file claims for damages is quickly approaching. But attorney Jeff Raizner warns that insurance companies may try to take advantage of the deadline by delaying claims – and ultimately not pay out damages at all.

The storms occurred on April 10, April 14 and May 24, 2011, totaling more than $600 million in damages as stated in the Insurance Journal article published April 21, 2011. In rapid succession, these storms pummeled the area with massive hail strikes and spawned tornadoes racking commercial properties throughout the region according to an article published May 27, 2011 from NBC News Dallas-Fort Worth.

Raizner, a founding partner of Doyle Raizner LLP, says policyholders are limited in the time they have to file a claim, and in many commercial policies these limits are two years from the date the damage occurred. He says these deadlines can be used to deny payouts as stated in an Insurance News article.

“At times there are events that involve claims and potentially insurance payouts, the insurance industry often makes up new rules and policies to try to shirk their contractual responsibilities to their customers,” commented Raizner.

According to Raizner, the tactics used to delay or deny these claims can include arguing that roof damage is due to normal wear and tear and telling policy holders that they have failed to do routine maintenance making them responsible for the wind and hail damage.

“Unfortunately, many insurance companies will accept premium money and agree to insure a property, only to claim later that the property was in poor condition at the time they insured it,” Raizner said. “This is an improper tactic designed to intimidate policyholders and force them to give up.”

Raizner says that policy holders are often forced to hire a lawyer when their insurer delays payment of valid claims until the last minute.

“It’s important to get an honest assessment of the damages before making a decision to accept an improper payment offer from an insurance company,” he said. “When a series of catastrophic storms damages a large number of valuable commercial properties, many policyholders are put in the challenging position of having to protect themselves from unscrupulous insurance industry practices”

About Jeff Raizner:
Jeffrey L. Raizner is a founding partner at the property insurance attorneys law offices of Doyle Raizner LLP. A nationwide leader in property insurance law, Doyle Raizner LLP represents the owners of office buildings, hotels, apartment complexes and other commercial properties in claims arising from the 2011 Dallas hail and windstorms.

He can be contacted at:

Doyle Raizner LLP
LyondellBasell Tower
1221 McKinney Street Suite 4100
Houston, TX 77010
713-571-1146

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