Homeowners And Settlements

Homeowners in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Arlington, and Metroplex areas are not as affected by what appears to be a mass settlement for homeowners in the Gulf Coast area of Texas. But it is still a victory, and a victory for one should be considered a victory for all when the insurance company finally does the right thing by accepting responsibility for the homeowners policies it issues.
The Beaumont Enterprise, a newspaper published in Beaumont, Texas, recently ran an article disussing the above topic. The article is written by Mike D. Smith and was published on July 13, 2010. The title of the article is, Mass settlement offered in Ike windstorm cases.
The article tells how the wait could be over for countless Bolivar Peninsula property owners locked in a group stalemate with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association over Hurricane Ike damages.
It is interesting to note that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has been in the news recently for wrongs and improper practices it has been caught commiting.
According to the article, within the next month, homeowners involved in the insurance fight should get notices from their respective attorneys about whether they want to accept a slice of a $189 million “mass settlement” with the state windstorm insurance pool.
One attorney involved in the litigation stated that the offer is substantially more than what was previously offered in these cases.
The settlement involves “slab” cases, or buildings where Ike’s winds and storm surge left little behind. Another attorney said the settlement would be a triumph for “slab” owners and the Galveston County economy.
It appears attorneys for the homeowners were able to counter arguements by the insurance industry of whether damage was caused by water or wind by using weather modeling and weather experts. The result of this being that the insurance association agreed to pay full negotiated amounts to the property owners and to pay attorneys fees.
“These slab claims were very complicated and numerous, and they required a great deal of time and analysis in determining the impact from wind and storm surge damage since Texas Windstorm Insurance Association policies only cover direct loss caused by wind,” insurance association general manager jim Oliver said in a released statement. “We hope that this global resolution will help those families rebuild their lives and homes. TWIA recognizes the important role that windstorm coverage and the recovery of policy benefits will have on economic development in Galveston County, and we are proud to help this vibrant community and help ensure its stability during future storms.” It is kinda ironic for them to be saying this now, after fighting it for so long.
It is reported that one of the above attorneys is still working about 5,000 Ike lawsuits mainly in the Houston and Galveston areas. After about a year of fighting, mediation is speeding up settlements on about 98 percent of those cases and are moving much quicker that the Hurricane Rita cases.
The main difference between the two storms is that Ike hit more heavily in a much more populated area.

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