- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has preliminarily approved a bill limiting liability for insurance companies sued by policyholders following storm damage, leaving the hot-button measure on the verge of heading to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Tuesday’s 21-8 state Senate vote followed contentious debate and passage in the House earlier this month.

The bill cuts penalties for insurers sued for offering too little money on storm claims, including wind and hail damage, while making it harder for those suing to collect attorneys’ fees.

The proposal is opposed by trial lawyers, but backed by powerful conservatives who promoted past laws limiting jury awards in lawsuits against businesses.

Supporters say the number of hail and windstorm claim lawsuits increased 1,400 percent in recent years. Democrats counter that Texans will have less recourse when insurers underpay claims.

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