We faithfully pay our premiums to insurance companies each year and expect them to help us in our time of need. But too often, insurers take advantage of us when they wrongfully deny, delay, or underpay valid claims in order to pad their profits. This has to stop. Insurance companies need to follow the rules, just like the rest of us. The Texas Legislature has an opportunity this session to protect policyholders.
Appraisal Should be Fair
Most insurance policies contain an appraisal clause, which allows you to resolve disputes with your carrier over the value of a claim. Insurance companies fought to put this language in policies, but some play games as to the timing of the appraisal process, waiting until late in the dispute to trigger it. When insurers do this, they add cost and delay for policyholders in order to grind them down so they will take less for their claim. This is wrong, and the games need to stop. Appraisal should be a fair process, a two-way street, not a weapon strategically used by insurance companies against policyholders. The parties should start the appraisal process early in the dispute so everyone knows where they stand. HB 2534 by Rep. Travis Clardy and SB 1706 by Sen. Blanco make the process fair.
Make Insurance Companies #PayUp
Many Texans pay extra to protect themselves if they are hit by a driver with no insurance or too little insurance. A wrongly-decided Texas Supreme Court decision lets insurance companies force you to go to court before they have to pay on these types of auto claims. That makes no sense. Insurance companies are in the business of assessing fault, determining damages, and paying claims. They know how to do this, but it's going to take the Texas Legislature to force them to do so. HB 359 by Rep. Charlie Geren and SB 1935 by Bryan Hughes will help Texas families get paid in full and on time for their uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. It's time that auto insurance companies pay what they promised.
No Pandemic Premium Hike
COVID-19 is causing hardship in so many ways for so many Texans. The pandemic has devastated the economy, closing businesses and costing jobs. Through no fault of their own, many individuals will suffer a hit to their credit scores as a result. Credit scores are used heavily by insurance companies when they decide whether to offer a policy and how much to charge for it. HB 1626 by Rep. Eddie Lucio III will protect families from having their premiums raised or adverse actions taken against them by insurers due to a change in their credit score related to a declared disaster.
Protect Your Pocketbook
Insurance rates keep going up as Texas families are asked to pay more for their policies. If rates are excessive, insurance regulators need to identify them as such without delay. Money wrongfully taken from Texans' pocketbooks should be returned promptly to them in the form of a rebate.