USA — Of the 1,600 homes damaged or destroyed in the Bastrop wildfires, 100 homes had no insurance, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.
Losses totaled $250 million, making it the costliest wildfire in Texas history. “The worst year on record was 2009 where we had $115 million in insurance losses for all of Texas, and this one fire in Bastrop surpassed that,” said Mark Hanna, spokesman for the council.
The Texas Department of Insurance keeps statewide figures on justified homeowners complaints associated with insurance claims, but not by county.
This year, however, the department has received 37 calls related to wildfires claims for the whole state. “Of those, only seven were justified complaints,” said Jerry Hagins, spokesman for the department.
A justified complaint is one where there has been a violation of insurance law, violation of language in the policy and improper claims handling by adjusters and agents.
“We encourage consumers to call us if they are having a problem with an insurance company. We can investigate it and contact the company on their behalf. Sometimes, we can get more money on the claim for the consumer,” Hagins said. “In 2010, the department returned close to $25 million in additional claims payments for consumers because of the complaint resolution that we do.”
To report a complaint on an insurance company, call 800-252-3439 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.