Showing 23 posts in Insurance Coverage.

Increased Insurance Premiums: Are They Recoverable from Third-Party Tortfeasors?

For the typical American employer, payments of insurance premiums are among the greatest expenses, and are important and unavoidable costs of operating a business.  It is common for an employer to see a spike in the cost of these premiums after experiencing an accident with an employee or a significant loss.  Insurance companies raising rates for coverage is hardly a phenomenon, but it does raise a question of fairness: should the insured bear the burden of paying increased premiums raised as a result of the tortious acts of a third-party?  According to Texas courts, principles of fairness must take a back seat on this issue. Read More ›

Texas Seeks to Deter Insurance Fraud in the Wake of Severe Weather Events

Introduction: A Model for Insurance Fraud

In recent years, numerous public insurance adjusters, contractors illegally acting as public adjusters and attorneys have used severe weather events, like the 2012 Hidalgo County hailstorms, to manipulate a profit from the subsequent flood of insurance claims.  A typical model used to maximize profit on fraudulent insurance claims starts with canvassers going door-to-door convincing homeowners they are entitled to more compensation than their insurance company provided.  Read More ›

Houston Flooding Relief Assistance and Other Useful Info

After one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the United States, it is time to recover and rebuild.  Below are several helpful maps of flooding areas and shelters, and processes for filing an insurance claim or FEMA assistance. Read More ›

Texas Supreme Court Analysis of USAA v. Menchaca


USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca, No. 14-0721, on petition for review from the Court of Appeals for the Thirteenth District of Texas, was argued on October 11, 2016 and decided on April 7, 2017.[1]

After Hurricane Ike struck in September 2008, Gail Menchaca contacted her homeowner’s insurance company, USAA Texas Lloyds (“USAA”), to report damage to her home.  Upon investigation, USAA’s adjuster found only minimal damage.  USAA determined its policy covered some of the damage, but declined to pay Menchaca any benefits because the total estimated repair costs did not exceed the policy’s deductible. About five months later, at Menchaca’s request, USAA sent another adjuster to re-inspect the property.  This adjuster confirmed the first adjuster’s findings, and USAA again refused to pay any policy benefits. Read More ›

Texas House and Senate Pass Limits on Weather Claim Lawsuits

On Wednesday, May 17, the Texas Senate approved House Bill 1774.  This bill will undoubtedly be signed by Governor Greg Abbott.  He is a very conservative Republican. Governor Abbott called lawsuits against insurers following hailstorms “the newest form of lawsuit abuse.” He also said he wanted to see legislation on his desk “that limits abusive hailstorm litigation.”  Well, now he has that very bill to sign into law. Read More ›

Latest Discussion on the Stowers Doctrine and Leased-in Worker Applicability in Texas


Seger v. Yorkshire Insurance Co., No. 13-0673, on petition for review from the Court of Appeals for the Seventh District of Texas, was argued September 3, 2015 and decided June 17, 2016.[1] After an accident, the parents of a deceased derrick hand (“Segers”) sued the company that owned the drilling rig (“Diatom”). Seger was employed with ECS. As an employee of ECS, the deceased provided services to Diatom. The drilling company demanded that its commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurers defend it in the litigation. The policy provided for a maximum of $500,000 of coverage for any one bodily injury accident, and contained a condition excluding leased-in workers and employees, but included independent contractors. The insurers refused claiming lack of coverage. The parents obtained a judgment against the drilling company, the company assigned its rights against the insurers to the parents, and the parents brought a Stowers action against the insurers. Read More ›

DB&P Succeeds in Establishing Greater Protection for Jobsite Employers

In TIC Energy & Chem. Co. v. Martin, No. 15-0143 (Tex. June 3, 2016), a Union Carbide employee, Kevin Martin, lost one of his legs in a workplace accident and recovered workers' compensation benefits through an owner-controlled insurance program (OCIP) administered by Union Carbide's parent company, Dow Chemical Company. Because Union Carbide was protected by the worker's compensation bar to suit, it could not be sued. Martin thus sued TIC Energy & Chemical Company, a subcontractor providing maintenance services at the facility, alleging TIC's employees negligently caused his injury. Read More ›

Recent Chapter 95 Decisions by the Supreme Court of Texas

The Supreme Court of Texas has issued two recent opinions regarding the applicability of Chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, First Texas Bank v. Carpenter and Ineos USA, LLC v. Elmgren. Both of these opinions provide openings for plaintiffs to assert Chapter 95 is not applicable as an affirmative defense or avoid its applicability all together. Read More ›

The New Mexico Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act

New Mexico has enacted an oilfield anti-indemnity act, much like the legislation enacted in Texas, Louisiana and Wyoming, and previously discussed in other blogs. While the New Mexico Oilfield Anti Indemnity Act (the “Act”) is similar to other states' oilfield anti-indemnity acts in many respects, it does also contain a few distinguishing characteristics. Read More ›

Wyoming Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act

As discussed in previous Donato, Minx, Brown & Pool Blog articles, multiple states have enacted Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Acts (for a previous blog entry giving a general introduction and historical overview of oilfield anti-indemnity acts, click here).

Oilfield anti-indemnity acts attempt to declare cost-shifting indemnity agreements pertaining to oilfield operations void. These acts have been enacted because state legislatures have perceived oilfield indemnity agreements to be the result of obvious bargaining inequities between the operator of an oilfield and its contractors. One of the states to enact an oilfield anti-indemnity act is the state of Wyoming. Read More ›