For many in the state of Texas, the ability to rebuild after a hurricane directly correlates to insurance companies’ payouts of their claims. No institution knows this better than Dickinson ISD. They are one of half of a dozen school districts waiting for insurance payments from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), an insurer of last resort, for Hurricane Ike claims. In fact, the TWIA has an outstanding $60 million in unpaid claims related to Hurricane Ike.
Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Ike hit Houston, officials have little reason to believe that TWIA will payout their claims without extensive legal battle. Five of the nine unpaid entities trying to get compensation from TWIA are currently in appraisal processes. An appraisal process with TWIA means that three appraisers come from three separate entities (one booked by insured, one by insurer, and one by government authorities) to determine how much TWIA should payout to a disputed claim.
The Inefficiency & Ineffectiveness of TWIA Appraisals
The Dickinson ISD, a school district 40 miles southeast of Houston, has already been through the appeals process against TWIA. Here is what the process has looked like:
- Dickinson ISD sustained massive damages at various schools. One of the repairs costed $1 million and other repairs have yet to be made due to the insurance holdup.
- TWIA offered to pay $238,000 to Dickinson ISD, later upping their offer to $1.2 million—an offer that would only cover one repair for the entire school district.
- Dickinson ISD filed a lawsuit against TWIA.
- TWIA countered with appraisal processes through adjusters. Two of the three insurance adjusters must agree on an evaluated number for damages to be paid.
- TWIA’s adjuster said the total damages covered was $0.
- Dickinson ISD’s adjuster said the total damages covered was $19 million.
- An independent judge said the total damages was closer to $11 million.
- Dickinson ISD’s adjuster changed their estimate to agree with the independent judge on the $11 million figure.
This is where TWIA should have paid out the insurance claim, as the $11 million figure had been legally settled through the appraisal process. However, TWIA did not pay the settlement; when forced to pay by a jury, TWIA appealed the court decision. The status of the case is currently pending.
The Ploys of TWIA & Other Insurance Companies
If you believe that TWIA and insurance companies are going to pay out, here is a list of exactly what TWIA has done for the Dickinson ISD school district.
- TWIA offered to pay a fraction of what the actual damages were estimated to be.
- TWIA asked for the appraisal process.
- TWIA said they have nothing to pay for.
- TWIA was requested by jury to pay Dickinson ISD $11 million.
- TWIA did not pay the amount.
- TWIA was again requested by jury to pay Dickinson ISD $11 million.
- TWIA appealed against the appraisal process outcome that they initially requested.
You Need an Insurance Lawyer to Look Out for Your Best Interests
Realistically, this situation happens to home, business owners, and school districts all the time. Insurance companies are reluctant to pay out their claims—and, in some cases, they will do everything they can to short your claim payment. At Arnold & Itkin, we know you cannot afford to wait 10 years. Our insurance attorneys understand that you needed the insurance payout yesterday. This is why we are proud to help those who’ve been affected by disaster—because the odds are against you. At our firm, we work hard to even those odds. Insurance companies are scared of us because we know their tactics. We know the best way to proceed against insurance companies, and we do our best to get you the compensation you deserve. So why wait 10 years for your claim payout when you can call us today?
Contact our office at (888) 400-2101 for a free consultation concerning your insurance claim.