The mission of the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) is to represent the interests of consumers in insurance matters. This means promoting public understanding of insurance issues, advocating fairness and stability in insurance rates and coverage, working to make the overall insurance market more responsive to consumers, and striving to ensure consumers receive the services they have purchased.
OPIC represents consumers as a class on matters involving rates, rules, and forms affecting various personal insurance coverages such as auto, residential property, title, and credit insurance, and on matters involving rules and forms for life, accident, and health insurance. OPIC advocates for insurance consumers primarily before the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). OPIC also produces a number of brochures and reports to assist consumers in better understanding the insurance products they purchase.
OPIC’s statutory authority is found in the Texas Insurance Code Title 5, Subtitle A, Chapter 501. Authority for the collection of funds on behalf of OPIC is found in sections 501.202 - 501.205. While our statutory authority does not allow us to represent individual consumers, individual complaints may point to a larger issue triggering our involvement. Accordingly, it is important that we hear from you and understand any insurance issues you may be having.
OPIC is dedicated to serving the consumers of Texas in an efficient, effective, and fair manner. Each staff member must adhere to the highest ethical standards in every aspect of the operation of the office. This includes thorough analysis of information as well as fairness, diligence, and sensitivity in working with consumers and insurers to carry out the mission of the office.
OPIC presently has 10.5 full time equivalent employees, consisting of the Public Counsel, attorneys, an economist, statisticians, researchers, and support staff. Appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate to a two-year term, the Public Counsel serves as Executive Director of the office with authority over administrative and legal decisions, and day-to-day operations. The current Public Counsel, Melissa Hamilton, was appointed by Governor Greg Abbott in December 2017. The agency is located in Austin and has no regional offices.
OPIC fully recognizes the importance of maintaining a staff with diverse ethnic backgrounds and adheres to an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) policy requiring full compliance with non-discrimination guidelines as set out by state and federal laws and regulations. OPIC does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or disability in employment or the provision of services.
Staff Compensation Information
Legislative appropriations to the agency, including interagency contracts, was $1,034,912 for fiscal year 2014 and $1,034,913 for fiscal year 2015. Executive staff compensation (not including that of the Public Counsel) is determined by the Public Counsel/Executive Director. Executive staff are not eligible for salary supplements. The methodology used by the Executive Director for determining executive compensation includes analysis of the skills required for the positions, the rate of pay for similar positions within other state agencies, and the specific performance of the executive. The OPIC average salary for senior staff is $106,000. The market average for senior staff in other agencies as referenced by the most recent government salary data for comparable positions is $125,000. A comparable market average for the private sector is $150,000 for senior staff which includes a senior economist and managing attorney. The average compensation for non-senior staff is $62,005. The percentage increase in compensation for executive staff over the five prior fiscal years from FY 2009 to FY 2013 were 9%, 8%, 6%, and 4%. The percentage change in legislative appropriations over the same periods were 4%, 0%, -8%, and 0%.