Preparing For Art-Related Claims After Hurricane Harvey

By Jamie Baker (September 19, 2017, 11:11 AM EDT) -- Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. Houston — the nation's fourth largest city — was hit particularly hard by the Category 4 storm. Only a few days later, on Sept. 1, 2017, Texas' new Insurance Code Section 542A went into effect. Section 542A, entitled "Certain Consumer Actions Related to Claims for Property Damage," was enacted in response to a significant increase in first party property damage lawsuits involving weather-related events. The provisions of Section 542A apply in first party residential and commercial property claims for damages resulting from natural forces, including earthquake, wildfire, flood, tornado, lightning, hurricane, hail, wind, snowstorm or rainstorm. The statute's provisions do not apply to nonweather-related property damage claims. Section 542A applies to all insurers, with the exception of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association ("TWIA") and the Texas FAIR Plan Association ("TFPA"). The new law also applies to contractual and extracontractual causes of action and requires that the claimant provide notice of dispute to an insurer 60 days prior to filing suit. The statutory notice must be in writing and apprise the insurer of the acts or omissions giving rise to the claim, the specific amount in dispute, and the amount of attorney's fees sought based on hours actually worked as of the notice date. Section 542A's notice provision is in addition to any other notice required by law or applicable insurance policy....

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