Policies and Disclaimers

Social Media Policy

OPIC recognizes the importance of communicating with the public online, including through social media. This document gives information to members of the public regarding OPIC’s use of online tools and social media, as required by State of Texas policies.

Privacy notification

Posts and comments on this and other social media channels operated by OPIC are public and may be viewed by all visitors. Therefore, visitors should be careful about posting any private or personally identifiable information and limit such information to the minimum necessary to communicate their message.

If you need to include private or personally identifiable information in your communications with OPIC, please contact us privately and we will follow up with you by email, telephone, or other one-to-one communication.

Postings on OPIC social media channels that include sensitive personal information are subject to removal, unless the subject of the information has given express consent for the disclosure of that information.

Moderation policy

The posts and comments on all OPIC social media channels will be monitored and moderated regularly.

A posting or comment may be removed from an OPIC social media channel at the judgment of an OPIC employee, including (but not limited to) postings or comments that:

  • contain obscenity,
  • include copyrighted material used in an infringing manner,
  • contain sensitive personal information,
  • contain offensive terms that target protected classes,
  • are threatening, harassing, or discriminatory,
  • incite or promote violence or illegal activities,
  • contain information that could reasonably be construed to compromise public safety,
  • advertise or promote a commercial product, service, or any entity or individual,
  • promote or endorse political campaigns or candidates, or
  • are off-subject or out of context.

OPIC employees who monitor and moderate content on social media channels are not required to provide an explanation for removing content, but may choose to do so.

Linking policy

Links from websites or social media channels affiliated with OPIC to any other websites do not constitute or imply endorsement of those sites, their content, or products and services associated with those sites.

Although social media tools are not clearly defined as state websites, individuals linking to or from related social media channels are strongly encouraged to adhere to 1 TAC §206.53 and the Department of Information Resources when constructing those links.

Third-party website policy

The social media tools employed by OPIC are hosted by third parties, and the use of those sites is governed by the social media providers’ own policies and terms of service.

Intellectual property rights and ownership

OPIC respects the rights of all copyright holders, and therefore, it has adopted and implemented a policy that provides for the removal of material that infringes the rights of copyright holders. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please provide OPIC’s Copyright Agent the following information required by the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 512:

  1. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed;
  2. Identification of the copyright work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site;
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit us to locate the material;
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit us to contact the complaining party;
  5. A statement that the complaining party has a good-faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law; and
  6. A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

For copyright inquiries please contact: web@opic.texas.gov 

Privacy Policy

OPIC maintains this Web site as a public service. This policy describes OPIC’s privacy practices regarding information collected from visitors to the site. It explains what information is collected and how that information is used. Please note that all information collected or maintained by OPIC is subject to the provisions of the Texas Public Information Act (Chapter 552, Texas Government Code). If you have questions or comments about the agency’s privacy policy, please contact us at web@opic.texas.gov by email or call us at 1-877-611-6742.

  • We do not use cookies to collect information. Note: A cookie file contains unique information a web site can use to track such things as passwords, lists of pages you have visited, the date when you last looked at a specific page; or, to identify your session at a particular web site. A cookie is often used in commercial sites to identify the items selected for a specific shopping cart application.
  • If you send us an electronic mail message with a question or comment that contains personally identifying information, or fill out a form that e-mails us this information, we will only use the personally identifiable information to respond to your request and analyze trends. We may redirect your message to another government agency or person who is in a better position to answer your question.
  • For site management functions, information is collected for analysis and statistical purposes by iensemble.com, OPIC’s web site hosting service. This information is not reported or used in any manner that would reveal personally identifiable information; and, will not be released to any outside parties unless legally required to do so in connection with law enforcement investigations or other legal proceedings.

PLEASE NOTE:  that under Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, commonly known as the “Open Records Act,” information sent to OPIC is subject to disclosure.

Under the terms of the hosting agreement, web site statistics indicating visitor information will only be available to the agency or maintenance staff, and will not be released, provided or sold to any other party unless required by formal court order or law enforcement proceeding.

We use Log analysis tools to create summary statistics, which are used for purposes such as assessing what information is of most interest, determining technical design specifications, and identifying system performance or problem areas. The following information is collected for this analysis:

  • User Client hostname – The hostname (or IP address if DNS is disabled) of the user/client requesting access.
  • HTTP header, “user-agent” – The user-agent information includes the type of browser, its version, and the operating system it’s running on.
  • HTTP header, “referer” – The referer specifies the page from which the client accessed the current page.
  • System date – The date and time of the user/client request.
  • Full request – The exact request the user/client made.
  • Status – The status code the server returned to the user/client.
  • Content length – The content length, in bytes, of the document sent to the user/client.
  • Method – The request method used.
  • Universal Resource Identifier (URI) – The location of a resource on the server.
  • Query string of the URI – Anything after the question mark in a URI.
  • Protocol – The transport protocol and version used.
Open Records Policy

Most information and records in the custody of the Office of Public Insurance Counsel are available to the public pursuant to Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code, commonly known as the “Open Records Act“.

The Office of Public Insurance Counsel makes every effort to respond to requests for information in a prompt and timely manner. Certain information requested may be withheld due to an exception or because it is proprietary, in which case, the Attorney General will be contacted for a ruling. If the information cannot be produced within 10 working days, the requestor will be notified of the reasonable date and time when it will be available. The requestor will also be advised in advance if any charges will be due for the information requested.

Please submit all requests in writing by using one of the following methods. You must provide contact information, including a mailing address and phone number.

Mail: Open Records Request
Office of Public Insurance Counsel
333 Guadalupe, Suite 3-120
Austin, TX 78701
Fax: (512) 322-4148
E-mail: openrecords@opic.texas.gov

Click here to access the Office of the Attorney General FAQ’s on requesting public records.

Accessibility Policy

Accessibility Standards

OPIC is committed to making its web site accessible to all users. The OPIC web site complies with applicable provisions in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), including Title 1, Part 10, Chapters 206 and 213; and the WCAG 2.0 Level AA of the World Wide Web Consortium accessibility rating.

Websites and applications, for use with or in conjunction with any of the OPIC websites, which are created by companies and/or individuals under contract with OPIC, must also adhere to these accessibility rules and standards. Agency employees responsible for negotiating and monitoring contracts must ensure that contractors meet all applicable accessibility requirements.

Accessibility Testing

OPIC has tested its web site designs and web applications with screen readers and other web accessibility tools, such as SortSite.  As a result, OPIC has made changes to improve each of OPIC’s web pages accessibility for users with disabilities.

Publications made available on our web site are generally available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). When posting PDF files, we follow guidelines from Adobe on Creating Accessible PDFs.

We test sites and applications on the Windows platform and numerous browsers including Internet Explorer/Edge, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Noncompliant items will be remediated as they are identified. All new content will be tested for compliance with accessibility standards before being added to the website. Additionally, OPIC will test the entire website for compliance with accessibility standards at least annually.

Suggestions for Improvement

OPIC welcomes comments on how to improve the site’s accessibility for users with disabilities. If you use assistive technology, and the format of any material on our web site interferes with your ability to access the information, please contact us to inform us of the problem. To enable us to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please email help@opic.texas.gov and indicate the nature of your concern, the preferred format in which you would like to receive the material, the web address of the requested material, and your contact information.

Additional Information

Additional information about accessibility programs in Texas is available from the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities

Compliance Exceptions

Per 1 TAC Section 213.17, all EIR developed, procured, or changed by a state agency must comply with the standards and specifications of Chapter 206 or Chapter 213, unless an exception is approved by the Public Counsel or the Department of Information Resources grants an exemption.

Exception requests must contain:

  • A date of expiration or duration of the exception;
  • A plan for alternative means of access for persons with disabilities;
  • Justification for the exception, including technical barriers, cost of remediation, fiscal impact for bringing the EIR into compliance, and other identified risks; and
  • Documentation of how OPIC considered alternative solutions and all agency resources available to the program or program component for which the product is being developed, procured, maintained, or used. Examples may include, but are not limited to, agency budget, grants, and alternative vendor or product selections.

OPIC may request an exception if compliance with a provision of EIR accessibility law or administrative rules imposes a significant difficulty or expense on the agency. If OPIC determines that an exception request is appropriate, OPIC will:

  • Determine that compliance does in fact impose a significant difficulty or expense on OPIC, and the extent of the difficulty or expense;
  • Submit a request to the Public Counsel for an exception; and
  • Provide individuals with disabilities an alternative method of access if the exception request is granted.
  • Retain records of approved exceptions in accordance with OPIC’s records retention schedule.
  • Establish and maintain a list of electronic and information technology resources that are determined to be exempt from the standards and specifications of all or part of Chapter 206 and/or Chapter 213.
  • Post the list of exempt EIR under the accessibility section of the OPIC website, including the exception request and the Public Counsel’s approval

Accessibility Coordinator

OPIC will inform the Department of Information Resources within 30 days whenever the EIR accessibility coordinator position is vacant.

Compact with Texans

OPIC is a consumer advocacy agency created to represent the interests of consumers as a class on matters involving insurance rates, rules, and forms. This includes matters involving various personal lines of insurance such as auto, homeowners, title, and credit insurance. Additionally, the agency participates in rulemaking proceedings for life, accident, and health insurance.

The agency presents information at administrative proceedings such as industry-wide rate hearings, analyzes individual company rate filings, and reviews or proposes rules before the Texas Department of Insurance. The agency may file amicus briefs on issues involving a class of insurance consumers, and participates in judicial appeals if the agency participated in the case at the administrative level.

The agency communicates with consumers throughout the state as it receives requests from the Legislature, the Department of Insurance, and civic groups to attend public forums and hear about local problems. And in accordance with statutory guidance, the agency distributes annual HMO consumer report cards and consumer bills of rights.

As a customer of the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, you can expect us to:

  • Conduct our activities with integrity, comply with all applicable state and federal laws including ADA requirements, and strive to make ourselves available to all insurance consumers.
  • Provide you with professional, courteous, and efficient service.
  • Maintain a well-trained staff, keep current on insurance issues, and attend public hearings and forums.
  • Provide you with an Internet website address that contains information of consumer interest, research information, and information about the agency in general.
  • Respond to your requests for information within 5 business days or as mandated by discovery rules in contested cases.
  • Transfer your telephone calls immediately to a live person or incorporate in all voice mail systems immediate access to a live person.
  • Immediately route your requests to the appropriate agency and maintain contact with you to ensure you have been helped.
  • Respond to your electronic mail within 5 business days.
  • Strive to provide our documents in English and Spanish and in concise, easy-to-read language.

You may access OPIC information either by calling our office or by logging on to our website at http://www.opic.texas.govWe will make available certain information on our website, including but not limited to the current annual HMO consumer report card and the Compact with Texans.  We will supply on request hard copies of anything available on our website.

We do not have statutory authority to handle individual consumer complaints regarding insurance issues, but any complaints received are forwarded to the consumer complaint division of the Texas Department of Insurance for resolution.  Complaints regarding our agency can be brought to the attention of the Public Counsel.

Customer Contact Information

You may reach us toll free at (877) 611-6742 or (512) 322-4143 or by fax at (512) 322-4148.

Our mailing address and physical location is:

Office of Public Insurance Counsel
William P. Hobby Building
333 Guadalupe, Suite 3-120
Austin, Texas 78701

 

Electronic mail inquiries may be sent to the following address: help@opic.texas.gov

No-Bid Contracts

A list of contracts entered into by OPIC is available for review.

Staffing and Compensation

OPIC employed 10.0 FTEs during the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. Legislative appropriations to the agency, including inter-agency contracts, are $1,042,249 for fiscal year 2020 and $1,042,250 for fiscal year 2021. The annual compensation for the Public Counsel is determined by the governor, and set as a line item exempt position in Article IX-20, Sec 3.04 (2). The Public Counsel is not eligible for a salary supplement.

The Public Counsel’s salary was $138,062 in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. The market average for compensation of similar executive staff in the private and public sectors was reported as $157,869 by SAO in August of 2018. At that time, the average compensation for non-executive staff was reported as $71,807. Note: The Public Counsel’s salary was increased to $149,976 for fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

 

The percentage increase in compensation for the Public Counsel from FY 2016 to FY 2020: 
 
  FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020
% change from prior year 19.4% 0.0% 0.2% 0.0% 8.6%

The percentage change in legislative appropriations over the same period: 

 
  FY 2016 FY 2017 FY 2018 FY 2019 FY 2020
% change from prior year 2.6% 0.0% -1.9% 0.0% 0.0%