By: Admin On: April 25, 2017 In: tortreform Comments: 0

Houston Chronicle
April 2017

AUSTIN – Declaring the start of the latest round in Texas “tort reform,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and a key legislator said a bill filed Monday will crack down on a small group of attorneys they say are abusing the system by filing unnecessary lawsuits after hailstorms.

Patrick acknowledged that legislative changes in recent decades have targeted the civil justice system. But he added that tort reform is needed again to address the most recent problem – a sharp increase in lawsuits over damage caused by hail and other storms.

“It means that insurance companies are raising the premiums on homeowners and business owners. Deductibles are higher,” Patrick said at a news conference. “That is costing our citizens of Texas real money out of their pocket that is going to lawyers.”

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said the bill he filed would prevent increases in premiums and deductibles for business andhomeowners’ insurance, and help insurers that have stopped selling policies that cover hailstorm damage. Hancock is the chairman of the Business and Commerce Committee, which will act on his bill.

“It improves transparency, and it protects Texas consumers from sky-high premiums without infringing on their right to make insurance claims or sue their insurance company when the insurance company is not fulfilling their obligation,” Hancock said.

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