Don't Sell Our Rights, Commissioner
The Texas insurance commissioner is considering an industry proposal that would allow an insurance company to buy your legal rights for a few dollars a month.
This is unprecedented. Never has the insurance department approved a request to allow an insurance company to include what is called a pre-dispute binding arbitration clause in its policies. In fact, it has been part of the agency's published guidelines to reject any insurance policy that includes such language.
But, all of that could change with the stroke of a pen from a single unelected state official without input from lawmakers or the public.
We sent a detailed letter to Commissioner David Mattax urging him to reject the proposed language. In it, we say:
Approval of such an endorsement would inevitably lead to a race to the bottom, stripping millions of people of their constitutional right to trial by jury, the most important consumer protection available to them.
Pre-dispute arbitration is known to be biased against individuals. It is not subject to judicial review or appeal. The proceedings are conducted in secret. Rules of evidence and procedure aren't typically followed. Arbitrators don't have to strictly adhere to the law. And, many arbitrators come from industry. The New York Times recently published a multi-part series detailing just how bad pre-dispute arbitration is for consumers.
The bottom line: If this is allowed to happen, homeowners who have been low, slow, or no paid on a valid insurance claim will be stuck in process with a stacked deck where the insurance industry holds the cards.
A public policy change of this magnitude should not be done by executive fiat. It cries out for public hearings and legislative deliberation.
Add your voice. Send an email to the commissioner telling him to stand up for policyholders by rejecting this industry giveaway.