Texas' so-called "hail storm” bill has cleared committee and now is headed to the full Senate, but not without controversy.
Supporters of Senate Bill 10 want to give insurance companies 60 days to resolve a disputed claim before being taken to court and limit attorney's fees on settlements.
They claim the goal is to limit lawsuit abuse which drives up premiums for all consumers.
“It is no different than any other scam that you see with storm chasers after severe weather, coming into neighborhoods and preying on homeowners who have been affected by the severe weather,” says Lucy Nashad, spokesperson of Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
Both Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick support the measure.
“The Texas Department of Insurance has found that 12 companies have already increased their rates in Texas because of this lawsuit abuse,” says Nashed. “Its also found that seven companies have stopped writing policies in Texas completely.”
Opponents argue SB 10 punishes everyone because of a few bad apples.
“Penalties that are designed to discourage slow pay, low pay and unfair no pay, it slashes them to the point that they're ineffective,” says Will Adams at the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. “It creates brand new notice requirements that put up near impossible obstacles for policy holders.”
Adams says if passed, SB 10 would give all the power to insurers.
“No matter how bad their conduct, it says that an agreived policy holder and insured, can't sue their adjuster no matter the bad faith,” he says. “You'll be in federal court with a federal judge and backlogged docket.”