Speaker Joe Straus released the committee assignments for members of the Texas House today. There has been much shuffling and turnover in the House coming into the session. So, just how do the members of key committees rank on our latest scorecard based on key votes from the last legislative session? Take a look. (more…)
In its latest report on auto insurance premiums charged by the largest auto insurers, the Consumer Federation of America said these insurers frequently charge higher premiums to safe drivers than to those who recently caused an accident. (more…)
There is a quaint notion that insurance companies make sound decisions based on personal interactions with policyholders. But, big insurance companies have become highly automated, able to rely on digital profiling to underwrite and set rates, proprietary databases to compile customer information, and black box logarithms to underpay claims. Neighborhood agents, trained appraisers, and experienced claims adjusters are seeing their influence wane. Indeed, without proper oversight, we could be entering a Brave New World where machines compile, crunch, and calculate complex datasets to dramatically limit human influence on key underwriting, rating, and claims handling decisions. (more…)
If you were to apply for a car loan, a bank would review your repayment history, not whether you could parallel park without dinging another vehicle. But if you want insurance, a poor credit history could cost you dearly, even if you’re a good driver or responsible homeowner.
Now, if you’re wondering what credit history has to do with insurance premiums, you’re not alone. Credit scoring isn’t new, but it’s taking on a troublingly larger role in determining insurance premiums for autos and homes.
A poor credit report, on average, now costs Texas consumers 42 percent more on home and auto policies, according to a Dallas Morning News analysis of insurance industry data published Sunday. In 2009, when the newspaper conducted the same analysis, the gap was 35 percent.
Read More: The Dallas Morning News
The scores are out! After a busy legislative session, filled with many consumer-related bills, we’ve compiled a scorecard showing how each legislator fared.
We tracked the votes closely so that you could see who stood up for families and who chose to stand on the side of corporate lobbyists. (more…)
What does it mean to be a middle class wage-earner and consumer in Texas?
For too many families, it means a struggle to make ends meet. Texans want safe, stable jobs with decent wages and reasonable benefits that allow them to raise a family, own a home, and save for a comfortable retirement. Much has been made lately about job growth in Texas. Unfortunately, for middle class Texans, the so-called “Texas Miracle” has been more myth than reality. So, how does Texas stack up to the rest of the nation on key quality of life indicators? (more…)
Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Eleanor Kitzman as the state’s next Insurance Commissioner. Ms. Kitzman currently serves as a state budget appointee for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and served as South Carolina’s insurance commissioner under Gov. Mark Sanford. Ms. Kitzman has also been an insurance executive for numerous insurance companies and a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs Reinsurance Group.
Texas Watch executive director Alex Winslow issued the following statement. (more…)
At long last, the Texas Department of Insurance Sunset bill is headed to the floor of the House of Representatives. this is our best shot at making meaningful reforms that will bring costs down, boost competition, and ensure fair claims handling. Take action now to let your legislator know that you support real home insurance reforms. Also, take a look at what some of the amendments do and where we stand on them. (more…)
In anticipation of the upcoming 82nd Legislative Session, State Representative Armando Walle, D-Houston, has filed several bills that will offer relief to families struggling with the current recession.
Rep. Walle also filed House Bill 194 to prohibit the use of credit scoring in the auto and homeowners insurance markets. Texans pay the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation and the insurance companies are permitted to use an individual’s credit score to set his or her insurance rates.
Read More: Ultimate Aldine