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New numbers: Texas home insurers happily rake it in, seize up on payouts

According to recent reports, in Texas, the home insurance industry has been raising premiums sky high, but is reluctant to pay claimants.

On August 18, the Insurance Council of Texas will begin its five-day public relations blitz down the entire Texas coastline to preach hurricane and windstorm preparedness. The 2014 edition of this tour will be its ninth annual conception, and will feature a phalanx of catastrophic weather experts retained by the Texas insurance industry. In addition to 49-media stops by the weather experts, the campaign will feature paid newspaper and radio advertisements in every coastal market.

Speakers will praise the wisdom of having a hurricane evacuation plan, and, not surprisingly considering their patrons, full insurance coverage for hurricane damage. But given the incredible growth in insurance premiums for Texans, not to mention the obstinacy with which many Texas property insurers handle claims, this tour might just be a bunch of hot air over windstorms.

Texas home insurance premiums grow as much in a year as inflation has in six

According to a report from the Texas Department of Insurance released on July 31, homeowners of the Coastal Bend would pay about 70 percent less for insurance absent private wind coverage. Todd Hunter, a Texas State Representative from Corpus Christi, told the Associated Press that the costs of windstorm insurance are surprisingly high, considering that hurricanes in the area are rare.

Another set of figures from the Texas Department of Insurance show that insurance rates for homeowners have increased by an average of between nine and 12 percent over the past year. To put that in perspective, from 2008 to the halfway point of 2014, the cumulative rate of inflation across the U.S. was just 10.5 percent.

While insurance rates are up for Texas homeowners, there has been no corresponding increase in payouts. A "loss ratio" lower than 60 percent is conventionally thought to be a good target for profitability in the home insurance business, and 2013, on average home insurers paid out a mere 44.8 percent of the premiums they gathered to cover property losses. That was a marked decrease from 2012, when 54.5 percent of premiums went to pay for homeowners' losses.

Protect yourself, get the full payout you deserve, by contacting an insurance law attorney

Wind damage, hail damage and other types of damage caused by severe storms can be devastating to structures. After paying some of the highest insurance premiums in the country, Texans expect their insurance companies to be there for them when necessary. But some insurers are obviously more interested in profits than doing the right thing, and must be forced to make full, fair payouts through legal action.

With hurricane season already underway in Texas, and with its peak approaching in late August and early September, it is more important than ever to ensure you get the full benefits of your homeowners' insurance policy. If you face storm damage and fear that your claim is being undervalued or wrongfully denied, rectify the problem immediately and get in touch with a Texas insurance law attorney as quickly as possible.

Keywords: wind, storm, insurance

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