Eye on Texas Blog

Eye on Texas Blog

5 Things You Need to Do to Get Ready for Hurricane Season (or Wildfires or Hail Storms or Tornadoes)

Hurricane season begins June 1st. Texans along the coast need to prepare for the possibility of having to file a major insurance claim. Same goes for the rest of the state too.

Whether you live on the coast, the Panhandle, or anywhere in between, you need to be prepared for a catastrophic event that results in a claim on your property insurance.

Here are 5 things every Texan needs to do to protect themselves and their property. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Press Releases

Cart Before the Horse

UPDATE (5/23/14):
TDI adopted a rule today that imposes a surcharge on home and auto insurance policies  in the 14 coastal counties. Thus far, insurers have not been forced to fulfill their legal obligations to cover the final level of financing of Hurricane Ike claims. We reiterate our strong support for requiring private insurance companies to meet their obligations under the law before any additional costs are borne by policyholders.

ORIGINAL POST (3/10/14):
In order to raise funds for the beleaguered Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, regulators at TDI are considering rules to impose a surcharge on property insurance policies sold along the Texas coast. This means higher insurance costs for homeowners and drivers in an area of the state hit hard by sky-high insurance costs (not to mention the severe restrictions on policyholder legal rights if/when the next storm hits).

Instead of putting more of the burden on policyholders, TDI should force private insurance companies to hold up their end of the bargain. Back when Hurricane Ike hit, the law said that insurance companies should bear the burden of the storm’s insured losses. Instead, they’ve been let off the hook while policyholders have been picking up the tab.

The folks at TDI are getting the cart before the horse. In our comments to the agency, we say that before even considering another hike in the cost of insurance, private insurance companies should be forced to fulfill their obligations. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines

News of the Week: Aftermath of West, Nursing Home Abuse, SCOTUS Eroding Corporate Accountability

In this edition of the News of the Week: Senators take testimony on the response to the West disaster, the State Fire Marshal issues a report detailing ways to improve safety after West, nursing home residents face abuse and neglect at an alarming rate with little recourse for repeat offenders, and a video about the importance of class action lawsuits in protecting consumers. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Press Releases

Lawmakers Should Adopt Basic Steps to Avoid Another West, Protect the Public

The disaster last year in West, Texas has put a spotlight on gaping holes in the safety and accountability of industrial facilities that handle and store dangerously toxic materials like ammonium nitrate.

Lawmakers have spent the better part of the last year discussing whether and how to beef up oversight of these facilities, as well as how to ensure accountability if another disaster occurs. This is a public safety issue that requires reasonable and responsible reforms to ensure our communities, schools, and families are protected and are able to rebuild after a catastrophe. We know what the solutions are and they are pretty straight forward: Implement basic safety precautions and construction standards and require facility owners to have meaningful liability insurance so that communities have resources to rebuild. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines

News of the Week: Polluter Accountability Hearing, Cleaning Toxic Tank Cars, MRSA

In this week’s News of the Week: Lawmakers hold a hearing to discuss whether local authorities should retain the right to sue polluters, safety regulators know almost nothing about the most dangerous job you’ve never heard of, and a columnist loses his friend to a hospital infection. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines

News of the Week: Polluter Accountability, Fracking Boom Traffic Deaths, Benzene Exposure, West Aftermath

In this week’s News of the Week: Polluters undermining local authorities, spike in traffic deaths related to Texas’s tracking boom, Corpus families denied restitution after exposure to benzene and other toxics, and a member of Congress who wants answers about the lingering health effects of the West disaster. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Press Releases

Judge Concerned About Sweetheart Deal for Farmers Insurance

A Texas district court judge refused to allow a sweetheart deal between Farmers Insurance and the State of Texas to move forward today. At a hearing in Judge Scott Jenkins’ court, lawyers for Farmer Insurance and Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office argued in favor of a deal that allows the insurance giant to avoid paying interest on millions of dollars in excessive premiums.

“This was a sweetheart deal in 2002 and it is still a sweetheart deal,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of the citizen advocacy group Texas Watch.

In 2002, Greg Abbott, then a candidate for Attorney General speaking about Farmers’ nefarious practices, said he would hold “accountable any company that bilks consumers out of their hard earned money.”

“That was then, this is now,” said Winslow. “Today, Greg Abbott and Farmers Insurance are linked arm-in-arm to push this bad deal through. Why isn’t Greg Abbott keeping his promise to Texas policyholders? He should put Texas homeowners first by forcing Farmers to pay back every penny it owes plus interest.” (more…)

Posted April 29, 2014

Eye on Texas Blog

The Power of Civil Accountability

The recall of 2.6 million GM cars has been dominating the headlines lately. We’ve learned about the 13 lives taken as a result of GM’s faulty ignition switch. We’ve learned how GM knew about the problem over a decade ago, but chose to keep quiet. We’ve learned how federal regulators tasked with ensuring the public’s safety ignored reports from drivers on this very issue. We’ve learned that a 90-cent fix could have saved lives. And, we’ve learned how GM decided years ago that 90-cents was just too expensive for the company to issue a voluntary recall.

How have we learned all of this? Because Brooke Melton’s parents filed a lawsuit. (more…)

Research & Reports
Research & Reports

The Texas Watch Foundation, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization, conducts research and public education activities on consumer law, consumer protection and civil justice issues. Read More »

Court Watch
Court Watch

Court Watch, a program of the Foundation, documents the role and impact of the Texas civil court system on Texas families and Texas public policy. Read More »