Tornadoes have ripped through North Texas, destroying homes and upending thousands of lives. Here are some tips for families and policyholders when dealing with their insurance company. (more…)
The Texas House voted to prohibit insurance companies from selling stripped down “named driver” auto insurance policies this week. These cut-rate, low coverage policies have become more prevalent in the Texas market as some insurance companies market them to drivers, many of whom don’t know their coverage has been slashed.
What’s wrong with named driver policies? Because of the gaping holes in these policies:
- More uninsured drivers are on the road;
- Innocent drivers are forced to bear the cost of repairs and medical expenses after an accident; and
- The cost of uninsured motorist coverage is more expensive for drivers with meaningful coverage.
The bill, HB 1773 by Rep. Ed Thompson, bans the use of named-driver policies outright, ensuring that anyone who drives your car is covered under your insurance policy unless you choose to specifically exclude them. As Rep. Craig Eiland said during the debate, the bill “stops the sale of junk policies that mislead people and don’t give them coverage.” (more…)
Property owners are beginning to assess the damage to their homes and businesses following the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Here are some tips for families and policyholders when dealing with their insurance company. (more…)
By intensely wide margins, Texas voters believe that insurance customers who have claims unfairly denied, delayed, or underpaid should have easier access to the courts with stiff penalties for insurers engaged in such conduct, according to a recent statewide public opinion survey conducted by Hill Research Consultants, a nationally known Republican opinion-research firm.
This session insurance lobbyists and their clients are working hard to restrict your access to the courts if you believe your insurance company has handled your claim unfairly. And, they have filed a boatload of bad bills to do just that.
So, we commissioned the statewide public opinion survey to find out what Texas voters think. The message is clear. Texas voters – across all geographic, partisan, and political lines – want stronger legal protections from rogue insurance companies. They believe that insurance companies routinely drag out lawsuits, and they want the courts – not state agency bureaucrats – resolving disputes between claimants and insurance companies.
And, 7 in 10 voters will reward legislators who believe it should be easier (or at least not harder) for a policyholder who believes their insurance claim has been handled unfairly to hire an attorney to represent their interests. 51% hold this position”strongly.”
The results speak for themselves. Check them out for yourself.
There have been heated discussions around the Capitol this week about the possibility that TWIA could go into receivership. This would be a drastic step that is unnecessary given that additional funding options are available to replenish the Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund and shore up TWIA’s finances.
Business leaders and legislators have expressed concern abut the impact receivership could have on the association’s bonding authority, as well as the ability of homeowners and business leaders to secure and maintain third party financing like mortgages and business development loans. Jumping to receivership would have a far-reaching impact on economic development and job creation, not to mention the impact it would have on policyholder claims.
Also, according to the Quorum Report (subscription required), TWIA’s “actuarial committee was told today that having the state’s windstorm insurer of last resort go into receivership could make it more difficult to receive financing to pay future storm claims or to obtain reinsurance.” This means that TWIA would have difficulty obtaining the post-event bonds and reinsurance necessary to pay for claims from a future storm. (more…)
The Texas insurance commissioner makes decisions that affect the lives and livelihoods of every Texan, and Texans deserve a commissioner who will serve as a neutral umpire. Senators will soon be considering whether to confirm Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman, and we know she is not the right person for the job. (more…)
During a recent visit to Midland, Dick Weekley attempted to rewrite history. According to an article in the Midland Reporter-Telegram, he claimed that Texas businesses were in a “lawsuit crisis” when he and a group of corporate CEOs founded the self-styled “Texans for Lawsuit Reform” in the mid-90s.
That’s strong rhetoric, but it is just isn’t true. There simply wasn’t a crisis. Here are the facts. (more…)
Lax oversight and biased investigations by Texas state officials have placed vulnerable psychiatric patients at risk for abuse and neglect for two decades, according to a sharply critical investigative report released Monday. (more…)
Sen. Kelly Hancock filed Senate Bill 548 to abolish the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) this week. We’ve been down this road before. It was a bad idea two years ago when OPIC was on the chopping block. And, it is a bad idea now.
OPIC plays an essential role in consumer protection. It is the state office tasked with representing the interests of insurance consumers. Rather than eliminating it, we should give this tiny state office stronger authority to force insurance companies to the table when the interests of consumers are threatened. Texans already pay the highest home insurance rates in the nation, and checks on insurance industry abuses are already few and far between.
Why would lawmakers even consider eliminating the one thing that gives Texas policyholders a fighting chance against Big Insurance? (more…)
A new book chronicling the history of the Texas Supreme Court is being released at a ceremony in the historic Capitol courtroom today. The book, The Texas Supreme Court: A Narrative History, 1836-1986, looks at the Court’s first 150 years. Amazon says that James L. Haley, the author of the new book, “describes the twists and turns of an evolving judiciary. … He focuses on the personalities and judicial philosophies of those who served on the Supreme Court, as well as on the interplay between the Court’s rulings and the state’s unique history … .”
Sounds interesting. But, if you want a more recent history that paints a picture of how the Court operates in the 21st Century, check out our report Thumbs on the Scale: A Retrospective of the Texas Supreme Court, 2000-2010. We lay out in stark detail the unrelenting pro-defendant bias that has come to dominate the modern Court. (more…)