Home & Auto Insurance Issues

Eye on Texas Blog

Preserve Policyholder Protections

Policyholders pay premiums in exchange for a promise from their insurance company that claims will be paid in full and on time. Too often insurers fail to hold up their end of the bargain by unfairly denying, delaying, or underpaying valid claims. That’s why strong laws with stiff penalties – like those that have been codified in the Insurance Code for decades – are necessary to deter bad conduct.

However, CSSB 1628 gives to industry and takes from policyholders. This legislation is currently being debated by the Texas Legislature. Take action now to stop this dangerous bill. (more…)

Texas Tells Podcast

Episode Three: “The Second Storm”

Episode three: How do Texans rebuild in the wake of catastrophe? After devastating storms ravage their homes, businesses, and churches, many Texans faced a second storm: dealing with their insurance company. This month, we talked to policyholders about SB1628, the insurance industry’s effort to erode the last line of defense for policyholders against low, slow, or no payments on their valid claims. Then Executive Director Alex Winslow explains how the bill could negatively impact all Texans.

Eye on Texas Blog

Our Take: Perry’s Farewell Address

Perry Thumbs Up (370x230)Gov. Rick Perry gave his farewell address before a joint session of the legislature today. He touted his record of severely restricting access to legal accountability, pointing specifically to sweeping 2003 legislation that closed the courthouse doors for countless Texans.

Even as he exits the stage, Gov. Perry is a cheerleader for his broken special interest policies that shield polluters, dangerous doctors, makers of dangerously defective products, and big insurance companies from accountability for needless physical and financial harm.

Despite his rhetoric, Perry’s policies have not resulted in better health care, lower insurance costs, or safer communities. Instead, Texas families face new dangers that threaten their physical and financial safety. Whether it is nursing home neglect, junk insurance policies, unsafe toxic chemical facilities, or a host of other looming threats, Texans are less safe.

So-called tort ‘reform’ has never been about helping families. It has always been about protecting narrow interests from accountability.

Texans need real accountability and safety reforms that restore the Constitution’s guarantee of public accountability and ensure all Texans have the ability to thrive in the Texas economy.

Eye on Texas Blog

Safe Texas Agenda

As our state’s economy thrives and our population booms, Texas families and communities face new threats to their physical and financial safety. We call on lawmakers to take steps during the 84th Legislature to help Texans thrive in our Texas economy by adopting a Safe Texas Agenda.

“The freedom to raise a family, build a business, and thrive in the Texas economy is only possible if our citizens’ physical and financial safety is protected,” said Alex Winslow, executive director of the citizen advocacy group Texas Watch. “So, priority one for lawmakers should be to adopt common sense steps to put the safety of Texas families and small business owners first.” (more…)

Eye on Texas Blog, Latest Headlines

News of the Week: Hurricane Season, Insurance Surcharges, Abuse of the Elderly & Disabled

This week’s installment of News of Week features stories to help Texans prepare for Hurricane season (or anything that could lead to a major insurance claim), insurance companies avoiding their obligations while coastal property owners face higher insurance costs, and evidence of abuse at state and private assisted living centers. (more…)

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…)

Latest Headlines

VIDEO: Texas Home Insurance Premiums Among Highest in U.S.

When you renew your home owners insurance this year, expect a bigger price tag. Those hails storms, tornadoes, grass fires and hurricanes across Texas are to blame.

[…]

“The cost of the bad weather in Texas has already been priced into the cost of our home insurance. It has been priced into the cost of our home insurance for a long time. So for insurance companies and their lobbyists to suggest that we need to dramatically increase the cost of insurance this year, next year and the year after that because of weather, just doesn’t make sense. We’re already paying for that,” Alex Winslow with Texas Watch said. (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 »