AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House has given preliminary approval to a bill limiting liability for insurance companies sued by policyholders following storm damage to property.

Approved 91-55 late Thursday, the bill cuts penalties for insurers sued for offering too little money after claims involving storms, including wind and hail damage. It also makes it harder for those suing to collect attorney's fees in such cases.

A final House vote Friday sends the bill to the Senate. It's backed by powerful conservative groups that promoted past Texas tort laws limiting jury awards in civil cases against businesses.

Supporters point to a state report that the number of hail and windstorm claims prompting lawsuits increased 1,400 percent in recent years. But opponents worry it will leave Texans with less recourse if insurers underpay claims.


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