AUSTIN, Texas-Joe Woods, vice president, state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), today issued the following statement regarding false social media post regarding Hurricane Harvey insurance claims.
“Safety is the first priority as Hurricane Harvey continues to impact the state with its wind and heavy rains.
“Also of importance, residents can rest assured that there are thousands of insurance claims adjusters in the Austin and San Antonio areas that are ready to enter the affected areas as soon as they can do so safely and are given permission by local authorities.
“If you sustain damage to your home or automobile, contact your insurer as soon as possible to start the claims process, and work with your adjuster to identify all damages and coverages. Residents should beware of scammers who prey on storm victims. These unscrupulous third-party contractors come in all varieties—and can lure in unsuspecting families with deals and offers that seem too good to be true.
“Contrary to recent misleading social media posts, the insurance claims process will not change under reform legislation (HB 1774) that was passed by the Texas Legislature this year and goes into effect on September 1. Instead, the new law adds new checks and balances to the system to dissuade unnecessary, manufactured lawsuits.
“Policyholders do not lose any protections with these changes that go into effect on September 1. The new law does not bar access to the courts nor does it prevent consumers from retaining legal counsel. Consumers still have all legal remedies available under the consumer protection laws in the event an insurer engages in bad faith conduct. The Texas Department of Insurance is available to handle any complaints about insurers. The new law does not take away any right to sue and does not diminish any cause of action that a person has against an insurance company.
“Rumors on social media are inappropriate scare tactics that are trying to capitalize in a time of widespread pain and misfortune following one of the worst natural disasters in decades.
“PCI encourages individuals to use their insurance company or agent as a resource in helping to access the services needed to handle a claim and take the proper precautions to make sure they are not taken advantage. Texans should also seek information from the Texas Department of Insurance and other official sources. If consumers believe that an insurer is not meeting the terms of the policy, they should know that they have the right to take legal action, including filing suit.”