Texas Recieved No Complaints from 2007 Hurricane Claims

January 8, 2008

No complaints have been received by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) on how the insurance industry handled any of the estimated 5,000 auto, homeowner and commercial claims that resulted from Hurricane Humberto, the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) reported. Humberto struck High Island, Texas on Sept. 13, 2007, with 85 mph winds.

Approximately 97 percent of the windstorm claims from Hurricane Humberto have been settled with insured losses estimated near $30 million. Ninety percent of the claims were residential, while the remaining 10 percent were commercial claims. Some claims are still coming in.

Humberto intensified faster than any other tropical storm on record. It was the only hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland in the last two years. The storm struck just miles away from where Hurricane Rita made landfall two years earlier.

Mark Hanna, a spokesman for ICT, said the insurance industry can be proud of how well it responded to both hurricanes.

“Hurricane Rita resulted in nearly 200,000 claims, more than $2 billion in losses in Texas and the complaints were less than one percent,” Hanna said. “With no complaints coming out of Hurricane Humberto, the industry is justifiably proud. Every person and every agency can share in this unique accomplishment.”

The fact that Humberto struck close to where Rita hit in Jefferson County created overlapping claims that cause adjusters nightmares. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) handled about half of Humberto’s claims and its director, Jim Oliver said sending in additional adjusters may have helped solve a lot of potential problems.

“We responded very quickly and may have over responded with more personnel than needed,” Oliver said. “But, I am very proud of the fact that not one complaint has been filed.”

In Texas, policyholders can file complaints against agents or insurance companies with the Texas Department of Insurance by mail, e-mail or through TDI’s Consumer Protection Hot-line. Consumers have the option of filing complaints anonymously.

Source: The Insurance Council of Texas, www.insurancecouncil.org

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