Everything may be bigger in Texas, but Houston-based trial lawyer Steve Mostyn and consumer advocacy group Texas Watch are determined to think little.
Steve Mostyn is the founder of Mostyn Law and the former president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, while Texas Watch is a non-partisan citizen advocacy organization. What do they have in common? Having witnessed the continuous erosion of consumer protections at the hand of special interests, both parties make it their mission to ask, “What about the little guy?”
Mostyn and Texas Watch advocate for accountability and insurance reform on behalf of everyday, hardworking Texans. You know – the little guys.
Here’s the real story of how Texas Watch and Steve Mostyn have used their voices both at the Texas Legislature and in the pubic to protect ordinary citizens from falling prey to large corporations.
Since its founding in 1998, Texas Watch has advocated for lower insurance rates and safer workplaces and neighborhoods. Most notably, Texas Watch has fought to level the playing field for homeowners and small businesses by demanding political and corporate accountability when special interests and big business encroach on consumer protections.
In the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008, Texas Watch fought for the truth to come out during a lawsuit between consumers and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), the state’s insurer of last resort. Texas Watch pushed for the release of public records documenting TWIA payments to its insurance agents. The records showed that that in six years, insurance agents earned an estimated $178 million “at the expense of consumers,” reports Watchdog.org. When the TWIA wasn’t willing to be transparent to the Texans it was supposed to represent, Texas Watch forced the issue.
Steve Mostyn has spent his career fighting for the rights of homeowners, families, and small businesses suffering the crippling effects of natural disasters. A childhood spent spent on his family’s small, working class farm in East Texas inspired Mostyn to spend his adulthood battling insurance companies on behalf of those in need. Mostyn knew all too well that hardworking families cannot effectively fight on their own against companies with deep pockets and armies of lawyers on their side.
Families and small businesses that lost their homes and livelihood in Hurricane Ike were particularly vulnerable to falling on the wrong side of corporate interests. Like Texas Watch, Mostyn Law also went up against TWIA on behalf of consumers. His firm represented thousands of TWIA-insured homeowners who suffered damage from the storm. Due to Mostyn Law’s extended legal efforts, TWIA agreed to settle the last round of claims for approximately $135 million – a hefty chunk of change for families still reeling from the loss of their homes. And at the end of the day, billions of dollars were pumped back into coastal counties for economic recovery.
These legal battles were a huge triumph for Texans on the coast who were trying to return to normalcy after the disaster. Though they did it in different ways, Mostyn Law and Texas Watch both helped fight for ordinary Texans after one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory. And here’s the important part – they won.