I have been involved in a lot of disputed property insurance claims in many venues over the past twenty-five years where emotions run high, but the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) is the blue ribbon winner in Texas for policyholders that hate how they have been treated. And, it is not just limited to the customers of TWIA. A number of independent adjusters representing TWIA are ready and willing whistleblowers in lawsuits against TWIA regarding these practices. They are upset as well.
Chip Merlin, who blew the cover off roof damage in Texas last March, has been reporting more about TWIA’s handling of claims from Hurricane Ike. Sop caught up with Chip in the Houston Chronicle story reported in his recent post And the beat does go on, as in the beat down of the taxpayers and the NFIP by shady insurers.
Although you Don’t Mess with Texas, apparently there is no problem with TWIA making a mess out of Texas as Merlin pointed out in Cosmetic Damage is “Physical Damage” and Recoverable Under a Property Insurance Policy:
I am raising this issue in part because there are so many Hurricane Ike disputes where the insurers are not paying for roof damage. One of the arguments is that they do not pay for “cosmetic damage” which is wrong. The vandalism example made by the editors of the FC&S Bulletin clearly shows that the property policy covers for damages to the appearance of structure or property so long as it is by a covered peril:
“Whether or not the dents are cosmetic or affect the roof structure, they are still direct physical loss. The policy doesn’t define damage so standard practice is to go to a desk reference. Merriam Webster Online defines damage as loss or harm resulting from injury to property, person, or reputation. The roof now has dents where it didn’t before; that’s direct damage. The policy doesn’t exclude cosmetic damage, so direct damage, even if it is cosmetic, is covered. It’s the same as if vandals had painted the side of the house purple. While cosmetic, it’s damage, and is covered. The principle of indemnity is to restore the insured to what they had before the loss, and this insured had a roof “with no dents.
Slabbed reported on the roof rage going on in Texas in Treading Water – claims handling in Texas following Hurricane Ike.
We invite readers to use the search on SLABBED and type in Hurricane Ike to find more information on the blog – including these two posts:
Most of all, we invite our Texas readers to encourage their Congressional delegation to get behind Congressman Taylor’s effort to add wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program.