Over the weekend, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed H.B. 1774 into law and put an end to abusive and frivolous lawsuits surrounding weather disasters such as hailstorms.
This is a major win for Texas homeowners who were seeing major insurance increases due to a wave of lawsuits over alleged weather-related damage from hailstorms.
In the last few years, lawsuits in Hidalgo County, Texas were so bad that three insurance carriers were forced to stop offering coverage altogether. Local housing advocates reported overall annual premium increases above 100 percent.
This new law allows Texas homeowners to have access to reasonable insurance premiums that are not impacted by trial lawyers gaming the system to get massive attorney’s fees, while often leaving individual homeowners with much less money than they would otherwise get from a traditional insurance payment.
In his state of the state address earlier this year, Gov. Abbott called hailstorm litigation “the newest form of lawsuit abuse” and said that he hoped to see legislation that “limits abusive hailstorm litigation.”
In early May, Rep. Greg Bonnen sponsored a reform bill passed by the Texas House. The Senate quickly followed suit and last week Gov. Abbott got his wish by signing the bill.
We commend Texas for quickly taking on this plaintiffs’ lawyer scheme and hope other states dealing with similar scams will look to the Lone Star State as a model for common sense legal reform.