County judge advises local homeowners to file insurance claims immediately

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick advises insured homeowners with flood damage to file their insurance claims immediately, before Sept. 1, due to legislation going into effect at the end of the week.

In a countywide release, Branick stated, "There is a new law (House Bill 1774) that takes effect this week. This new law specifically applies to property damage claims involving “forces of nature” – such as floods, tornados, hurricanes, hail, wind, rainstorms, and wildfires. This new law takes effect this Friday, September 1, 2017 and will reduce the penalties insurance companies face when they don’t pay enough in claims, decrease the chances they will have to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and protect individual agents from the negative effects of being personally sued — most notably diminished credit scores.

"If you have property damage to your home or business – including from Hurricane Harvey – and you need to make a claim with your insurance company, take action BEFORE this Friday, September 1, 2017. Send a WRITTEN notice of claim to your insurance agent and insurance company that is dated before September 1, 2017. You can supplement the claim after you know more about the damage you have sustained. But give the insurance company notice that you have damage from the storm and ask them to send an adjuster to your property to assess the extent of damage.

"To fall under the current laws which are more favorable to consumers and property owners, policyholders should send notice in writing to their insurance company that:

(1) specifically references their claim; and

(2) is dated BEFORE September 1, 2017.

"Telephone calls are not enough. Put it in writing – mail, fax, or email. And, KEEP a copy of what you send.

"If you know someone that can benefit from this, please send them this information."