Houston plaintiffs lawyer Steve Mostyn, who made a name for himself representing victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, has already filed an insurance claim for wind damage to his roof from Hurricane Harvey, beating out the Sept. 1 effective date of a new Texas insurance law.
He recommends others do the same—in writing—if they have a claim under their homeowner’s policy.
“If you think you have a wind claim, if you think you have a tree that blew over because of wind, file the claim,” Mostyn said.
With water covering 25 to 30 percent of Houston and more than 3,000 people rescued so far from flooded homes, the specter of the deadline of the new insurance law has added a level of stress for those storm victims.
The new law, also known as the “Hailstorm Bill,” reduces by about half the 18 percent penalty insurers pay for unlawfully delaying or denying “forces of nature” claims on homeowners insurance. The tort reform law was aimed at plaintiffs attorneys who have filed $340 million in hailstorm claims against insurance companies since 2012. Plaintiffs attorneys opposed the law on the ground that it does not help consumers.
Mostyn, of Mostyn Law of Houston, has won millions of dollars for hundreds of homeowners who suffered property damage from hail during a storm.
The lawyer spent last Saturday night clearing storm drains in the yard of his Houston home and emptying buckets that he placed inside his house to catch rain leaking through his roof as Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston. He said he was able to keep the flood waters out of his house, located in the Museum District near the Texas Medical Center, and is dealing with the leaky roof until he can get it repaired.