More than two years after Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston, Texas, insurers continue to receive claims from the storm, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.
ICT Spokesperson Mark Hanna said he doesn’t know exactly why claims continue to pour in.
“I know the insurance industry would like to put this to bed but it goes on and on,” he said.
The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the state’s insurer of last resort, at a recent meeting revealed that it gets at least one new claim everyday, according to Mr. Hanna.
Some claims are thought to be closed but are refiled by homeowners months later, Mr. Hanna.
Homeowners can file a claim within two years of a storm to have the possibility of being fully reimbursed, but they can continue to file after two years to be considered under an actual cash value agreement.
Joe Woods, vice president of state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in Texas, said the timeframe is based on when homeowners discover the damage, which could get tricky since some coastal homes are not full-time residences.
Still, it would seem as though two years after a storm is enough time, and Mr. Woods said TWIA or other insurers are likely to file for immediate summary judgment to block claims at this point.
Losses for TWIA, now at $1.85 billion, may reach $2.3 billion, reported ICT.
The association has received 92,800 claims from Ike. It also was sued 4,800 times. More than 2,500 lawsuits have been settled.
Insurers have received more than 700,000 claims from Ike, the state’s costliest storm ever.
Ike wiped out TWIA’s reserves so it had to assess the state’s insurance companies $430 million to pay claims from Ike and also from Hurricane Dolly, which struck south Texas in July 2008, ICT said. Insurers have sought reimbursement via premiums tax credits for $230 million, which ultimately comes from taxpayers.
Taxpayers involvement prompted Rep. Larry Taylor, R-Freindswood, a Texas House member, to ask for TWIA financial documents to find out how much attorneys were paid in the claims resolution process.
Galveston District Court Judge Susan Criss lifted a temporary injunction that barred TWIA from giving Rep. Taylor information on $189 million in settlements. Attorney Steve Mostyn had asked for the injunction, court records show.
“We, as legislators charged with important oversight responsibilities, have an obligation to work in good faith to solve the challenges facing TWIA,” Rep. Taylor said in a statement. He called the order a victory for transparency and open government.