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Eye on Texas Blog

Rathgeber Appointed Insurance Commissioner

Governor Rick Perry has appointed Julia Rathgeber, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s Deputy Chief of Staff, as Texas Insurance Commissioner. Her appointment comes after Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman was not confirmed by the Texas Senate for a full term.

The Texas insurance market faces important challenges. With higher premiums, larger deductibles, and expanded exclusions, Texas policyholders are paying more and getting less. Policyholders deserve an insurance commissioner who will fight for them everyday by fostering a balanced insurance market in which prices are fair, coverage is adequate, and claims are paid in full and on time.

We are hopeful that Commissioner Rathgeber will work to restore balance to the market. And, we look forward to working with her to put Texas policyholders first. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog

Kitzman Not Confirmed, Leaves TDI

After public concern over Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman’s anti-policyholder decisions during her tumultuous 21-month tenure, the Texas Senate has chosen to not confirm Commissioner Kitzman for a full term, according to numerous media reports.

Senator Glenn Hegar, Chair of the Nominations Committee, said, “Gauging the votes in the last couple of days, it does not appear that there is a majority on my committee or on the Senate floor for that confirmation.”

As a result, Kitzman left office at the end of the recently concluded legislative session, reportedly confirming to her staff that Monday was her last day. (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog

How Do They Rank?

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…)

Eye on Texas Blog

Insurance Myth #9: “Insurance Companies Are People Too.”

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…)

Latest Headlines

Editorial: Credit Scores Shouldn’t Determine Insurance Premiums

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

Eye on Texas Blog

2011 Legislative Scorecard Is Out!

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…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines, Press Releases

Texas: ‘Miracle’ or Myth?

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…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines, Press Releases

Perry Taps Former SC Insurance Exec, Lobbyist to Head TDI

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…)

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 »