Texas lawyers have some crucial advice for victims of Hurricane Harvey: Notify your insurance company of home or business damage before Sept. 1 or suffer the consequences of a new state law that reduces the penalties insurers pay for delaying or denying claims.

'Hailstorm Bill'

The law, also known as the "Hailstorm Bill," goes into effect on Friday and reduces the 18% penalty insurers pay for unlawfully delaying or denying "forces of nature" claims down to about 10%. That tort reform law, which was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on May 27, was aimed at plaintiffs attorneys who have filed $340 million in hailstorm claims against insurance companies since 2012.

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John Council

Senior reporter John Council is a native Texan who covers litigation and appellate courts in his home state. Contact him at [email protected]. On Twitter: @john_council