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Partnering with Texas Business Groups to Fight Controversial Insurance Loophole All the Way to the Texas Supreme Court

A Long Overdue Competitive Advantage

Insurance companies operating in Texas have long enjoyed an unfair competitive advantage in disputes with policyholders. A loophole that Texas courts have failed to address allows insurers to deflect responsibility for damages claims while shifting the burden of proof to policyholders.

Policyholders Victimized by Loophole

In Overstreet v. Allstate, a property owner filed a claim with Allstate for storm damage. Allstate responded by claiming that factors other than the storm contributed to the damage, a strategy known as concurrent causation. Based on the loophole, the insurer argued that it was the policyholder’s burden to prove why those other factors did not contribute to the damage. Texas lawmakers did not intend for the insurance industry to have this unfair advantage. The Texas Legislature specifically clarified the insurance code, stating plainly that insurance companies are the ones that should be required to prove their case when they raise a concurrent causation claim. However, Texas courts have instead followed legal precedent from before the legislation was enacted. 

Partnering to Protect Texas’ Business-Friendly Climate

No other state in the nation has such a loophole. As Overstreet churned through the courts and advanced to the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas business community was hopeful that the state’s highest court would review and clarify the loophole for all Texas policyholders. Gravely PC partnered with seven leading industry groups to file an amicus curie brief outlining the business community’s position and why the law has been “mischaracterized, misapplied and misunderstood.”

However, the insurance industry has no interest in having the state’s highest court potentially close the loophole and end their unfair advantage. Insurers frequently make these concurrent causation claims to try to avoid paying policyholders what they’re due. In most cases, it works because policyholders don’t obtain legal representation. 

As the Overstreet hearing date approached, Allstate reached a confidential settlement, which allows the loophole to be preserved for future exploitation of Texas policyholders. The Gravely team remains committed to supporting Texas businesses through its amicus work.

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