Conture Skincare

Conture Skincare was a brand in its infancy when I began working with it. The brand was less than six months old, and had fewer than 7 posts on each social media channel.

I was able to develop a cohesive social aesthetic for the brand that walked the line between informative and entertaining, while crafting copy specific to the brand’s demographics on each platform.

How to Choose the Best Home Insurance for You

From young to old, first-time to veteran home buyer, an alarming number of people don’t know how to choose a home insurance policy. Should you get an ACV or a RCV policy? Do you need flood insurance? Why are the premiums so different?

Yes, home insurance policies can be confusing. They’re filled with legalese and abbreviations, and maybe just skimming them gives you a headache. But, as a homeowner, you need to be able to make an informed decision.

Here. Let us break it down for you.

Do I need an ACV or an RCV policy?

Our clients often share that they chose their insurance policy because it had a low deductible. They never realized that low rate meant they were getting an ACV policy, which insures your home for its components’ Actual Cash Value. That means if your roof is rated to last 20 years, and it’s 10 years old, you’re only insured for what the roof costs today. In other words, if that new roof cost you $10,000 ten years ago, you’re only insured for $5,000. And if you have, say a $2,500 deductible, you only have $2,500 to fix your roof. If you have an ACV policy, you are more than likely throwing your premiums away. You’ll want to make sure you have an RCV, or Replacement Cost Value, policy. In the example above, an RCV policy would have made sure you got the full $10,000, minus the policy deductible, to replace your roof.

What are the different types of property insurance coverages?

With most insurance companies, there are included and optional coverages. Dwelling coverage, contents coverage, property damage and personal liability come standard in most homeowners insurance policies. But, they don’t cover everything.

Dwelling coverage protects your home’s structure, i.e. the floors, walls, ceilings, attached structures and built-in appliances. It can also cover you against fire, hail, theft and vandalism, and get you the money to rebuild your home if necessary, not exceeding your policy limit.

Contents coverage protects, you guessed it, the contents of your home. From clothes to furniture, you can receive payments for the value of your home’s contents if they’re damaged in a covered incident. For example, if you have flood insurance, this coverage could help you replace the items damaged by a flood. While this coverage is included in your policy, the amount of coverage is, ultimately, up to you. When choosing the amount, really think about how much it would cost to replace all of your furniture, entertainment system, wardrobe, etc. You certainly don’t want too little coverage, but you also don’t want to pay for more than you need.

Personal liability protects you and your guests. This aspect of your policy can cover the medical, and other, costs if a guest is injured in your home.

Property damage coverage helps pay for the damages to your property that result from a covered incident.

Optional Home Insurance Coverages

Though most standard policies include the above coverages, they don’t cover everything you might need. The below coverages are, more or less, a la carte options for your home insurance policy.

We would venture to guess that most homeowners in south Texas and Louisiana are already looking at flood insurance after recent years. If you’re not, you should be. The past several years in both Houston and Baton Rouge, and their surrounding areas, have proved that living in a no-flood zone means nothing to Mother Nature. Flood insurance, usually backed by the federal government, is a separate policy insurance companies offer, so it’s usually not included in your homeowner’s policy. Getting flood insurance is always a good idea, unless you live in the desert.

Replacement cost plus and ordinance/law insurance are both options that allow you to rebuild your home after a total loss. If you’ve owned your home for many years or are worried about depreciation, replacement cost coverage might be a good option for you. Ordinance/law insurance helps people with older homes rebuild their houses to fit current building codes.

There are a plethora of policy coverage options including earthquake, structures, medical payments, sewer water backup and more. Even if you don’t think you need a certain option, like earthquake coverage, do your research before making a decision. When choosing how to protect your home, it’s important to understand exactly what you need and to be well-informed. There are more earthquakes in Texas than you probably realize.

Remember, if you ever have specific questions about your policy options, your insurance agent works for you. They are always available as a resources for clarification, explanation or statistics.

Texas Property Insurance Lawyers

If your homeowner insurance carrier has denied your insurance claim, we can help. The experienced property insurance attorneys at Chad T. Wilson Law Firm have represented more than 1,000 clients in cases against insurance companies and aggressively protect the rights of insurance policyholders. Our consultations are free, and you owe us nothing until your case is won. Contact us today to see how we can help.

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com February 9, 2017

 

 

State Farm Commits Fraud Against the Federal Government

The Supreme Court has spoken: State Farm committed fraud.

On Tuesday, the highest court in the land unanimously affirmed a jury verdict that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. committed fraud against the federal government after Hurricane Katrina.

The case against State Farm began when sisters Cori and Kerry Rigsby witnessed the insurance giant shifting private wind insurance claims in Mississippi to federal flood insurance.

Flood insurance policies are backed by the federal government, so insurance companies are reimbursed for the flood policies they paid. Wind insurance, however, comes out of the insurance company’s pocket. State Farm took advantage of the massive flooding during the hurricane by lying about wind insurance claims so that they would get reimbursed by the federal government.

The sisters, who worked as independent adjusters for State Farm, filed suit, ultimately winning the case in 2013. The Court ordered State Farm to pay $750,000 in damages. Thirty percent of the award went to the Rigsbys, and the remaining went to the federal government.

After the Rigsbys won the case, other claims that State Farm defrauded the National Flood Insurance Program surfaced. In 2015, Mississippi filed its own civil fraud lawsuit against the insurance company. The state claimed it had paid as much as $522 million to State Farm policyholders after the company exploited its adjusters’ and engineers’ reports to benefit itself.

On Tuesday, the justices rejected State Farm’s claims that this whistleblower case be dismissed because its existence was leaked while it was supposed to be secret.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion for the Court upholding an appellate ruling that there is no requirement in federal law that the lawsuit be dismissed. The Supreme Court’s opinion was mostly limited to the provisions of the federal False Claims Act. The rule requires that the existence of whistleblower lawsuits remain secret for a minimum of 60 days.

It says a lot that State Farm chose to argue a technicality and not whether or not it actually committed fraud.

The Rigsbys’ lawyer at the time, Dickie Scruggs, emailed information to reporters that revealed the lawsuit’s existence before the case was public, Kennedy wrote.

The Associated Press, ABC News and The New York Times each published stories about fraud allegations, without specifically mentioning the sisters’ lawsuit.

If you would like to read the Supreme Court opinion in its entirety, the citation is: State Farm Fire and Casualty Company v. United States, 15-513.

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com December 9, 2016

 

Home Insurance Giant Denies Harris County Claim

A Houston homeowner is suing Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance for fraud, negligent hiring and other claims. Our client’s home suffered severe damage after a brutal storm. Allstate and its adjuster responded to her insurance claim with a substandard and improper inspection of the property, grossly undervaluing the cost of repairs and deliberately yielding an unrealistic amount to underpay coverage.

January 8, 2016 Storm

On January 8, 2016, a severe wind- and hailstorm bombarded Harris County, Texas, tearing through neighborhoods and destroying homes as it went. Our client’s home suffered severe damage to the roof and exterior, as well as the central air conditioner. After the storm, the homeowner quickly submitted a claim to Allstate, hoping her insurance company would help her get her life back in order.

Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company Home Insurance Claim

Allstate assigned one of its adjusters to inspect the property and adjust the claim. The adjuster knowingly conducted a subpar investigation, refusing full coverage and finding no damage from the storm. This flagrant fraud left our client with no recovery to make repairs to her home.

The third-party expert hired after the insurance company’s fraudulent inspection found a litany of damages that were either conveniently absent or undervalued in Allstate’s estimate.

The damage to our client’s property is currently estimated at nearly $18,400.

Allstate’s adjuster intentionally undervalued our client’s claims in order to maintain his job, misrepresenting the amount of damage in the hopes that our client would simply rely on his expertise and fraudulent estimate as a true representation of the property’s damages.

Because of Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company’s fraud, our client was unable to complete any meaningful repairs to her home, which resulted in even more damage. She was forced to retain an attorney to pursue her claim for insurance benefits. On January 24, 2017, the Chad T. Wilson Law Firm filed suit, on behalf of our client, against Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company for fraud, breach of contract, negligence, gross negligence, negligent hiring and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas DTPA.

Texas Property Insurance Lawyers

If your homeowner insurance carrier has denied your insurance claim, we can help. The experienced property insurance attorneys at Chad T. Wilson Law Firm have represented more than 1,000 clients in cases against insurance companies and aggressively protect the rights of insurance policyholders. Our consultations are free, and you owe us nothing until your case is won. Contact us today to see how we can help.

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com January 26, 2017

 

What to Do When Your Insurance Claim is Denied

It’s a safe haven. It’s where you can unwind at the end of a long day. It’s where the heart is.

It’s home.

But suddenly, the oasis that you’ve worked hard to own is ravaged by a hail storm, or hurricane, or freeze. Then, your insurance company decides that there wasn’t that much damage caused by that storm, and they’re not going to cover the gaping hole in your roof because it was caused by “wear and tear”— who knew that simply having a roof was a pre-existing condition? You thought that was the point of having homeowner’s insurance, right?

You’re absolutely right. But often, insurance companies hire insurance adjusters that will low-ball the estimate of repairs just so they can deny a claim. So, how do you fight back?

  1. Review your policy.Before you go any farther, you’ll want to educate yourself and make sure that the policy does include the type of damage your home received. This step should be done before you file a claim if you’re unsure of your coverage, but after the denial works, too. If your copy of your policy was destroyed in the incident, your insurance company can provide another.
  2. Collect your facts. When you’re looking to refute a denial, you’ll want to ensure you have all of the information you need so that you’re as prepared as possible. Thousands of dollars could be at stake.
    –  Know the facts of the event itself — dates, extent of damage, parties involved, and steps you took to prevent the incident are vital.
    –  Photograph the damages.
    –  Gather records of steps you took and purchases you made to protect your home, such as maintenance (before and after the incident), repair or home fire safety alarms.
    –  Record and document all conversations you’ve had with your insurance company.
    –  Find witnesses who may be willing to speak on your behalf.
    –  Show any and all evidence that you’re a responsible homeowner and not negligent.
    –  And if you have had a prior claim on your house, make sure you can provide proof that it has been fully repaired; we weren’t joking about pre-existing conditions.
  3. Hire a public adjuster.Don’t take your insurance company’s word for it. Hire a public adjuster to come evaluate the damage to your property. Often, you’ll find their estimates of damages much higher than the insurance company’s adjuster.
  4. Get help.Whether you need assistance with filing an appeal, or you’re ready to take legal action, an insurance attorney is your best chance at getting the payment you deserve for being a dutiful homeowner. Let them handle the footwork, the legalese and the arguing on your behalf, so that you can get the protection you’re owed. 

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com July 7, 2016

 

Chad T. Wilson Law Firm Outplays State Farm

For years, insurance companies like State Farm have taken advantage of policyholders through misuse of Texas insurance law. The Chad T. Wilson Law Firm is fighting to stop this abuse.

Attorney Stephen Mengis leads the firm’s charge in protecting its clients against State Farm’s misguided practice. “State Farm uses appraisal as a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card,” Mengis explained. “They use appraisal to get away with paying policyholders as little as possible, sometimes years after the fact.”

What is appraisal?

When a homeowner makes a claim on their insurance policy, their insurance will send out an adjuster to inspect the home and claim. Too often, the adjuster will seriously low-ball estimates to assert that the insurer owes nothing under the policy.

Many savvy policyholders will hire a third-party, unbiased inspector to assess damages and see if the insurance company left anything out. Based on the inspector’s estimate, the homeowner can sue the insurance company.

During the lawsuit, either side can invoke appraisal. Each side will hire an adjuster that will give them the best damages amount — the insurance company will want another low estimate, and the policyholder’s attorneys will want a high estimate.

After each side inspects the property and determines the amount of damages, the two adjusters will meet to find a compromise. If they can’t agree, they’ll bring in another adjuster (umpire, if you will) who will pick a side. Whatever amount the third adjuster chooses is what the insurance company pays.

Texas Insurance Law

If an insurance company doesn’t pay a claim within 60 days, Texas law mandates they pay any attorney’s fees accrued during a lawsuit, along with an 18 percent interest rate on the amount of the damages. “In one case,” Mengis shared, “we got an appraisal award exactly one year after the damages occurred. That’s well outside of the 60 days.”

State Farm invokes appraisal on every case, then uses a 2004 case to justify only paying the appraisal amount. “With State Farm’s logic, they can deny any claim they want for any reason,” Mengis said. “For the small percentage of denied claims that file lawsuits, they can invoke appraisal, pay the appraisal award (sometimes more than two years after the damages occur) and say they don’t owe anything else under Texas law.”

What’s worse, according to Mengis, is that appraisal only sets the amount of the loss. It doesn’t account for the expenses and fees that go along with appraisal and the lawsuit, including attorney’s fees. “That’s the advantage of appraisal and why they use it.”

Mengis provided the example of a $10,000 appraisal award to replace a roof. After accounting for a $2,500 deductible, the policyholder is left with $7,500. The insurance company will then deduct a fee for the depreciation of the roof. If the roof is seven years old and was supposed to last 25 years, they’ll deduct 33 percent of the value of the roof. Now, the award is at $4,500. After fees for lawyers, appraisers, inspection and filing the lawsuit, the policyholder may actually owe money.

And State Farm still claims they awarded enough money to fix the roof. (And, if the homeowner doesn’t make the repairs, State Farm can cancel the policy.)

Houston Law Firm Combats Misuse of Appraisal

Mengis has taken to using State Farm’s logic against them. “Since the insurance company claims appraisal makes the lawsuit go away, we do, too,” he said.

The firm files a motion for Summary Judgement, asking the court to rule that the insurance company broke the law. “The appraisal award is evidence that they didn’t pay what they owed the policyholder within the 60-day time limit the law sets,” Mengis explained.

In this new set of circumstances, both sides have a valid argument for why they should win, making it harder for either to win. “That’s enough to keep the case alive after appraisal, so we can keep fighting for our clients.”

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com November 11, 2016

4 Things All Homeowners Need to Know About Insurance

There are some basic things most homeowners know about when it comes to protecting, caring for or insuring their homes. Let your faucet drip when the nights are especially cold so your pipes don’t freeze. Run water in unused spaces to prevent buildup. Turn off all of your appliances before leaving for a trip.

But, there are a few things most homeowners don’t know about their insurance policies:

Even if you have home insurance, you might not have flood insurance.

Flood insurance, usually backed by the federal government, is a separate policy insurance companies offer, so it’s usually not included in your homeowner’s policy. Getting flood insurance is always a good idea, unless you live in the desert. When rain overwhelmed Baton Rouge in August 2016, many homeowners found themselves at a complete loss. They didn’t think they needed flood insurance because they lived in no-flood zones. Learn from their experience and make sure you’re covered for whatever Mother Nature throws at you.

If your deductible sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Our clients often share that they chose their insurance policy because it had a low deductible. They never realized that low rate meant they were getting an ACV policy, which insures your home for its components’ Actual Cash Value. That means if your roof is rated to last 20 years, and it’s 10 years old, you’re only insured for what the roof costs today. In other words, if that new roof cost you $10,000 ten years ago, you’re only insured for $5,000. After your $2,500 deductible, you only have $2,500 to fix your roof. If you have an ACV policy, you are more than likely throwing your premiums away. You’ll want to make sure you have an RCV, or Replacement Cost Value, policy. In the example above, an RCV policy would have made sure you got the full $10,000, minus the policy deductible, to replace your roof.

Your insurance agent works for you.

If you ever have questions about your policy, it’s your agent’s responsibility to answer them. You pay your insurance company a significant amount of money every single month to make sure they have your back if your home is damaged. So, if you’re not sure if something is covered, or you don’t know what something means, or have any other possible question, your agent has a duty to not only answer your question, but answer it honestly and fully.

It actually IS important to read your policy.

In addition to fully knowing your coverage, reading your insurance policy, and every policy change, diligently will let you know what your insurance company hopes you don’t see. In those policy updates you receive every so often, your insurance company may change your coverage, your responsibilities, or any number of other things. Recently, Allstate changed the requirements for what homeowners have to do before filing a lawsuit. They made policy changes, which many homeowners didn’t read, that require the insured to submit a proof of loss 91 days before they’re allowed to file the suit. If that proof of loss isn’t filed, Allstate can tell the court that the policy requirements weren’t followed and the suit must be dismissed.

Don’t let your insurance company take advantage of you. Do your research, get informed and hold your insurance company accountable. You’re paying them to protect you and your home. Make sure you get your money’s worth.

Texas Property Insurance Lawyers

If your homeowner insurance carrier has denied your insurance claim, we can help. The experienced property insurance attorneys at Chad T. Wilson Law Firm have represented more than 1,000 clients in cases against insurance companies and aggressively protect the rights of insurance policyholders. Our consultations are free, and you owe us nothing until your case is won. Contact us today to see how we can help.

 

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com January 12, 2017

 

Insurance Lobbyists Threaten Homeowner Rights … Again

You may not realize it, but during the 2015 Texas legislative session, you almost lost every right your property insurance policy gives you.

SB 1628

Last year, Larry Taylor, a state senator and insurance agent from Galveston, proposed SB 1628. Industry insiders wrote this bill to undo 40 years of protections that ensure insurance companies are fair. Backed by an army of highly paid insurance lobbyists, the bill would have ripped through the laws that currently keep insurance companies honest.

Meaning you would barely have time to file a claim after a storm. Insurance companies would have incentives – yes, incentives – to deny or underpay your claim. And, even the adjuster who came out and lied through his teeth about your hail damage being “wear and tear” would have gotten off scott-free.

Phew. You breathe a sigh of relief knowing that liberty and justice prevailed last year, and your rights are still protected.

At least for now.

Insurance Lobbyists Fight to Take Rights

On October 5th, the insurance lobbyists will return. The industry will work itself to the bone to guarantee it can deny, delay and underpay your claims with zero accountability.

You pay a premium so that you can rest easy knowing that you won’t lose everything you have during the next severe storm. Even so, it’s in your insurer’s best interest to deny or underpay your claim by whatever means necessary – fraud, negligence or simply utter incompetence. That’s why the current strict laws with harsh penalties are essential to protect your rights as a policyholder.

This session, those rights will, once again, be in jeopardy. Legislative committees will meet with industry insiders to decide your and your family’s fate. While no bill has been proposed, these legislators will discuss weather-related litigation, educated only by the propaganda the insurance lobbyists will spew.

Take Action

So, how do you make sure your rights are protected?

  1. Call or email your state senator to voice your concerns and give your testimony to be included in the meeting records.
  2. Find a special interest group that will represent you through formal letters, petitions and testimony.
  3. Get a great lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Chad T. Wilson Law Firm fight for our clients’ rights every single day. We’ve represented more than 1,000 homeowners to get them the insurance payments they rightfully deserve.

  

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com October 1, 2016

 

What to Do When Your House Floods

You’ve built a life in your house. All of your memories, your family’s memories, are archived there. Not just in the photo albums, refrigerator drawings and homemade cards. But, in the markings on the door frame where your children grew to be taller than you. In the patchwork sheetrock where your boys loved to rough-house. In the permanently scuffed floors from too much running in the house.

And then, disaster strikes. With no warning, Mother Nature releases a fury of rain and, in just a few hours, you find all those memories washed away.

For some, this scenario seems like it could never happen. For people in South Louisiana, though, it’s all too familiar. In the span of one day, Baton Rouge and its surrounding cities were overwhelmed with rain. Levees broke. Rivers flooded. And houses in no-flood zones were engulfed in water.

When a flood strikes, immediately call your insurance company. If you’ve found yourself up to your knees in water with no flood insurance, apply for federal assistance.

While you’re working to get your life back in order by clearing out your house, removing ruined carpets and sheetrock and salvaging everything you can, remember to pay attention to all of the potential dangers your house may now hold.

Wetness and high humidity will cause molds, fungi, algae and bacteria to grow within only a few days, and if the water was contaminated with sewage or other biological pollutants, your home may be doubly contaminated. Therefore, it’s important to begin cleaning and drying quickly and thoroughly. Mold spores can wreak havoc on allergies, fungi can deteriorate your wood, and some molds produce mycotoxins; all of these will cause an unhealthy living environment and a house that steadily rots. Often, the damages these growths cause will not be covered under flood or homeowner’s insurance.

If you have the funds, it’s best to have a professional water damage restoration contractor with special drying equipment come to clean, disinfect and dry your home. If you don’t have that option, be sure to wear protective clothing on your legs, arms, feet and hands while cleaning, and wear rubber gloves and goggles while removing flood-damaged items. If your home was built before 1978, be wary of lead-based paints.

Begin cleaning by removing wet carpets, carpet pads and rugs within 24 hours of the flood, and disinfect the slab underneath. An economical, general purposed disinfectant is 1/2 cup laundry bleach to a gallon of water, but can damage finishes (wood, metal, colors) and may pose health threats. Remove any other flooring once the flood has receded and clean the floor underneath. For wood floors, carefully remove a board every few feet to reduce buckling and leave open until the flooring is dry.

All wet insulation needs to be removed, and the insides of walls should be flushed. Be sure all areas are dry before installing new insulation and sheetrock. Replace all porous insulation with new material.

Flush out the insides of the walls. Allow wetted areas to dry thoroughly before installing new insulation. If possible, air condition and use a dehumidifier to speed the drying of materials by drying the indoor air.

To dry the rest of your home: open all closet and cabinet doors, remove drawers, wall panels, vinyl wallpaper and baseboards.

When refinishing your home, opt for latex paint, flood-hardy materials, ceramic or vinyl tiles or solid wood flooring.

Remove vinyl wallpaper to allow sheetrock or paneling to dry. Removing baseboards will help too. Refinish interior walls with latex paint—never use vinyl wallpaper—to allow the walls to continue to dry to the inside. A shellac-based sealer, however, may be needed over ceiling water stains before painting.

Texas & Louisiana Property Insurance Lawyers

If your flood or homeowner insurance carrier has denied your insurance claim, we can help. The experienced property insurance attorneys at Chad T. Wilson Law Firm have represented more than 1,000 clients in cases against insurance companies and aggressively protect the rights of insurance policyholders. Our consultations are free, and you owe us nothing until your case is won. Contact us today to see how we can help.

  

Originally published on cwilsonlaw.com August 25, 2016

 

Web Design

At the LSU Foundation, part of my responsibilities included content management of the web site. Though the site’s overall design was outsourced to a firm specializing in constituent engagement for educational institutions, I had to design new pages we added after the initial design. These pages ranged from Cornerstone Online — the online portal I created, giving the Foundation’s magazine its first ever web presence — to the contact pages, which included drop-down menus by department for easy navigation.

These designs are viewable at http://www.lsufoundation.org

 

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