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Why Senate Bill 10 is needed

Southeast Texas Record, April 3, 2017

Our state Senate considering legislation to restrict lawsuits against individual insurance adjusters. Why is this bill necessary?

After all, if a hail storm causes damage to a home, and a policyholder is dissatisfied with the settlement of his claim, the appropriate response should be to sue the insurance company, right? Why sue the company's employees or contractors?

To pump up the pressure? Is this the lawfare version of carpet bombing?

“These adjusters are being sued purely as a litigation tactic,” says Dallas commercial insurance attorney Steven Badger. “Their lives are sadly being impacted by these lawsuits. These baseless lawsuits are affecting their credit and causing unwarranted stress in their personal lives.”

Over the last five years, thousands of hailstorm suits have been filed in Texas – not only against insurance companies, but against agents and adjusters working with or for them.

Two of the more ridiculous cases named an insurance agent who had never been associated with the company being sued.

It was a mistake, apparently, but one that caused a good bit of grief and inconvenience for “Jane Doe,” who has now filed an action of her own in Comal County against Arguello Hope & Associates, several of the firm’s attorneys, and their clients in the suit against her.

When the lawsuit wrongfully filed against her caught the attention of the Texas Department of Insurance, Doe recalls in her petition to the court, she had to surrender her insurance license to prevent a permanent-record investigation. Moreover, she and her husband, a private contractor employed by the government, are now obliged to “explain in great detail all the facts surrounding both lawsuits each and every time their security clearance is reviewed from now until the end of their careers.”

Their reputations have been damaged and opportunities for future employment “put in jeopardy.”

If the Senate needs someone to testify on behalf of SB 10, they can call “Jane Doe,”

assuming she’s willing to brave more public exposure that she didn’t deserve in the first place.