OPIC worked hard for consumers this past year, analyzing over 1,100 rules, rates, and policy forms. We are a small, 10-person agency, but we did big things in 2021. We saved Texas consumers over $11.4 million last year alone, so for every $1 OPIC received from the State’s General Revenue Fund, OPIC saved Texans $14.
saved for consumers
rate, rule, and form filings
Here are some of our biggest achievements of 2021:
Made two recommendations to the Legislature to benefit Texas insurance consumers. The Legislature passed bills that addressed both recommendations during the regular Legislative session and Governor Abbott signed them into law. Learn more about the specific legislation.
Consumers deserve access to information about their insurance in plain language so they can be well informed and help make the insurance market work for them. With this in mind, OPIC updated its auto and homeowners (including renters) Consumer Bills of Rights, adding a table of contents and rewriting the documents to make them easier to read. OPIC’s Bills of Rights are a basic outline of important rights you have under Texas law.
Prevented reductions in coverage on residential property and auto policies by working with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and insurance companies throughout the year. More than 80 changes were made to protect Texas consumers based solely on OPIC’s policy form reviews and objections.
Objected to language in auto policies that could have resulted in unwarranted out-of-pocket expenses and potential claim denials for policyholders. Examples of changes made because of our objections are: 1) companies better defining business use to prevent coverage denials while traveling from your home to work; 2) preserving an alternative dispute option for vehicle repairs; and 3) increasing the maximum amounts your company will pay to tow and store your vehicle after an accident.
We regularly object to numerous residential property and auto rate filings where we believe consumers are not being charged appropriate rates. In 2021, one of our objections resulted in refunds averaging $530 per policyholder, with one policyholder receiving $1,666.
At the beginning of the pandemic, OPIC objected to auto rate increases since driving had significantly decreased and to help ease the financial burden many Texans faced. As we moved into 2021, OPIC objected to personal auto rate increases when insurers ignored the continuing effects of the pandemic on driving behavior. The goal of both efforts was to make sure Texas drivers aren’t overcharged for their insurance.
Helped consumers affected by Winter Storm Uri in a variety of ways. OPIC provided timely safety and claims handling information on our website and social media to consumers affected during the February winter storm. OPIC also participated in several informational webinars and assisted individual Texans who contacted our agency for help with their claims.
During the 87th Session, we reviewed over 700 legislative bills, worked with legislators, and offered testimony during various hearings.
Started an overhaul project to update our Policy Comparison Tool and make it more user-friendly. The first phase of the project updated and improved search functions.
Continued to collaborate with TDI on a redesign project for the HelpInsure.com website. The new website will be mobile-friendly and easier to navigate for consumers shopping for auto and homeowners insurance.