So what if your house was partially or completely destroyed by Hurricane Ike? If you've lived along the Gulf Coast of Texas for more than a week, you've probably done the smart thing and bought insurance to protect you from the inevitable. While that may work in theory, thousands of coastal residents are learning that insurance companies have a much easier time raising premiums after a hurricane hits than actually paying out. The problem stems from the fact that some people did not have the foresight to record a minute-by-minute photographic account of which damage on their house was attributable to wind and which was attributable to flooding. As a result, the potentially responsible parties are alternating between stalling and flat out ignoring claims.
Chip Merlin, an attorney whose firm represents more than 400 policyholders with Ike-related claims, said he's seeing more disputes than he expected still open a year after Ike. Many of the disagreements, he said, involve less than $10,000.
"I'm surprised at the number of small disputes going on where the insurance company just says 'We're not paying,' " he said.
This kind of gives a new meaning to the term insurance fraud.
Unsettled claims and unsettled lives [Houston Chronicle]