Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman has been asked by the Office of Public Insurance Counsel to stop State Farm from using rates that are “excessive, unreasonable, and unfairly discriminatory.” Will she intervene? That remains to be seen. Last Fall, when State Farm filed the single biggest rate increase in recent memory and jacked up its rates 20%, Kitzman had an opportunity to protect State Farm’s customers by rejecting the rate hike. She sat on her hands. Commissioner Kitzman should stop coddling big insurance companies like State Farm. She can start by heeding the call to force State Farm to lower its rates.
Here’s our statement on the Office of Public Insurance Counsel’s formal request to Commissioner Kitzman:
The Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) submitted a formal request to Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman today for a hearing on State Farm’s recent 20% rate increase. Public Insurance Counsel Deeia Beck, who runs OPIC, wrote Kitzman that she believes the company’s rates are “excessive, unreasonable, and unfairly discriminatory.” She asks that Kitzman require State Farm to stop using the rate and issue refunds if the company refuses to comply. Kitzman had an opportunity before the increase was implemented to intervene and block the rate hike. She chose not to.
Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a leading citizen advocacy group active on insurance matters, issued the following statement:
Commissioner Kitzman needs to stop coddling big insurance companies who thumb their noses at the law. She should act now to to protect policyholders by forcing State Farm to make its rates fair and reasonable. State Farm has been bullying Texas policyholders, regulators, and lawmakers for too long. Since 2003, State Farm – the largest home insurance provider in Texas – has manipulated the market to pocket excessive premiums.
Ms. Beck and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel should be applauded for working to protect the interests of policyholders in our state.