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One state seeks to aid insurance industry by reforming lawsuits

In certain circumstances, the media seems to hold a jaundiced view of insurance companies. However, without the protection provided by many different branches of the insurance industry, many consumers and businesses would be left vulnerable and unable to rebuild after a devastating event. New York residents have likely experienced situations where an insurance policy enabled them to recover from an unforeseen setback.

One state recently announced the introduction of proposed legislation that would offer some protection to one area of the insurance industry. The bill would prevent attorneys from filing a lawsuit that would seek two-pronged compensation. A driving force behind the proposed bill is to aid in the rising lawsuit abuse crisis and to help prevent the insurance companies from reducing coverage to private homeowners.

The bill is focused on the hailstorm lawsuit epidemic. Many times, attorneys are seeking damages for both so-called unfair settlement payments and "bad faith" practices. While the right of those who purchased the policies are protected and they may still file a suit against a company, the industry will now be afforded protection from predatory civil suits.

The bill also prevents policyholders from directly suing their personal agent, as the bill's sponsors stated the agents are simply following company policy. The proposed Texas legislation is the second attempt to extend protection to the insurance industry in the state, in an effort to allow it to maintain a healthier economy and ensure that hail damage insurance will still be affordable for property owners. New York insurers who find that they are facing possible litigation do have access to skilled insurance defense attorneys from whom they can seek advice concerning the best defense strategies in their particular circumstances.

Source: setexasrecord.com, "Hailstorm lawsuit reform bill introduced in Texas Senate", David Yates, Feb. 13, 2017

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