NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Mold that Ate Texas

February 7, 2003

The American Tort Reform Foundation says personal injury lawyers who push for high dollar awards for personal injury and property damage claims are partly responsible for a costly explosion in claims for mold damage in Texas.

Mold claims by Texas policyholders jumped dramatically between the first quarter of 2000 and the fourth quarter of 2001. During that time:

  • The total number of mold claims grew from 1,050 to 14,706 -- a 1,300 percent increase.
  • The number of claims per 1,000 policyholders rose from 1.7 to nearly 23.6 -- a 288 percent increase.
  • The average cost per Texas policyholder per year grew from $23.32 to $300.50 -- a 1,189 percent increase.
  • Texas, which makes up only 7.5 percent of the U.S. population, accounted for 70 percent of new mold claims in 2001.

Nearly 80 percent of Texans believe that mold in the home can cause serious health problems, according to a recent Texas poll. However, little reliable medical or scientific evidence exists establishing a causal link between mold and illness. To date, "toxic" mold is largely considered toxic because the personal injury bar says so.

Source: Michael C. Hotra and Kimberly A. Martin, "Mold for Gold," Perspectives on Texas Public Policy, October 2002, Texas Public Policy Foundation.

 

Browse more articles on Government Issues