Consumer Wins - Edition #3
July 30, 2021
New Auto and Homeowners Bills of Rights
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. OPIC’s Bills of Rights are a basic outline of important rights you have under Texas law.
OPIC Recommendations Adopted During 87th Legislative Session
OPIC made two recommendations to the Legislature that would 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.
OPIC Updates Auto and Homeowners Consumer Bills of Rights
May 17, 2021
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. The revisions include a table of contents and the use of less technical jargon. OPIC’s Bills of Rights are a basic outline of important rights you have under Texas law. OPIC provides these documents on their website, and insurance companies must give you a copy with your insurance policy.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) adopted these Bills of Rights on April 26, 2021. Companies may begin using these documents immediately, but are required to provide the updated versions with policies beginning November 15, 2021.
Governor Abbott Reappoints Melissa R. Hamilton as Public Counsel for OPIC
March 3, 2021
Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Melissa R. Hamilton as the Public Counsel for the Office of Public Insurance Counsel for a term set to expire on February 1, 2023.
OPIC Offers Tips to Help Texans Recover from Winter Weather
February 22, 2021
In response to the recent extreme winter weather, OPIC created an article with tips for filing homeowners and auto claims. The article includes tips on preventing further damage, steps to start the claim filing process, what to do if there is a problem, and other helpful resources.
OPIC Releases Recommendations Report to 87th Texas Legislature
December 30, 2020
OPIC recommends two bills to the Texas legislature to protect insurance consumers and expand their access to insurance resources.
- Protect Texas consumers by repealing Section 2251.1025 of the Insurance Code, which exempts certain auto insurers from filing actuarial support for their rates.
- Improve consumer access to insurance resources by expanding access to broadband internet service in Texas.
Consumer Wins - Edition #2
December 11, 2020
COVID-19 has had a financial impact on many Texans. We have tried to help Texas consumers by objecting to auto rate increases filed since March 2020. Our efforts have resulted in companies withdrawing their rate increase, re-filing at lower rates, and/or refunding premium. OPIC saved Texas drivers over $80 million.
OPIC has objected to the use of old and minor criminal offenses, such as a violation for a barking dog, to improperly set the cost of auto insurance for drivers, because those offenses don’t prove a direct correlation to accident risk. After our objections, only a handful of companies still use non-driving-related criminal history to rate drivers. We are still working on this issue to make sure rates are fair to Texans.
OPIC Creates Hurricane Delta Resource Page
Consumer Wins - Edition #1
September 23, 2020
OPIC has held the line during the COVID-19 pandemic so consumers don’t see rate increases. We have raised objections to auto rate increases filed since March 2020. Our efforts have resulted in companies either withdrawing their rate increase, re-filing at lower rates, and/or refunding premium. Together, our work has saved Texas drivers over $6,300,000 since the beginning of the pandemic.
To better assess the impact of COVID-19 on insurance rates, we requested that the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) conduct a special auto data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state.
OPIC Creates Hurricane Laura Resource Page
2019-2020 HMO Report Cards Now Available
OPIC Provides Comments on TDI Consumer Choice Benefit Plan Disclosures Rule
July 15, 2020
OPIC sent comments to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regarding their informal draft rules on consumer choice benefit plan disclosures.
OPIC Provides Comments on TDI Mental Health Parity Rule
July 10, 2020
OPIC sent comments to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regarding their informal draft rules on mental health and substance abuse disorder parity requirements.
OPIC Requests Special Auto Data Call
June 26, 2020
The Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) requested that the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) conduct a special data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state to gather information about personal auto claims during the pandemic. OPIC needs the data to fulfill its statutory duty to assess the impact of insurance rates on insurance consumers in Texas and to represent their interests.
TDI Requests Informal Comments on OPIC's Consumer Bill of Rights for Automobile Insurance
March 30, 2020
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is currently seeking comments on an informal working draft of OPIC’s Consumer Bill of Rights for Personal Automobile Insurance. We have updated our Consumer Bill of Rights to be more consumer-friendly and easier to read.
The comment period for this informal working draft closes at 5:00 p.m., central time, on April 29, 2020. Submit comments to the TDI Property and Casualty Lines Office at PropertyCasualty@tdi.texas.gov or call Melissa Herman at 512-676-6728 for more information about this posting.
OPIC Staff to Telecommute due to COVID-19
March 16, 2020
For the health and safety of our staff due to COVID-19, OPIC’s office will be closed. All OPIC functions will continue as our staff will telecommute and check voicemail during regular business hours. We thank you for your understanding. We are still here to serve Texas consumers so please do not hesitate to contact us if you need anything.
OPIC's Kimberly Donovan Named 2020 NAIC Consumer Liaison Representative
January 22, 2020
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently announced their 2020 Consumer Liaison Representatives. OPIC’s Chief Policy Analyst, Kimberly Donovan has been appointed as one of the funded Consumer Liaison Representatives. The Consumer Liaison Program “promotes consumer interaction with the NAIC’s members, the insurance industry and interested parties through the individuals’ dedication and commitment to serving the public interest,” an NAIC press release said.
Now Accepting Applications for TAIPA Alternate Public Member
December 1, 2019
OPIC is seeking applicants to serve as an alternate public member for the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). TAIPA provides auto insurance to qualifying Texans in order to help them comply with the requirements of the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act. The deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, 2020.
For more information and to apply, visit our TAIPA Application page.
OPIC Provides Comments on TWIA Rate Recommendation
November 19, 2019
OPIC sent comments to TWIA regarding their 5% rate increase recommendation made on November 19, 2019. OPIC asks TWIA Board to delay rate vote pending additional information regarding the hurricane modelers.
OPIC Creates Claims Handling Information Pages
August 19, 2019
Suffering damage or loss to your home or auto can be stressful. Filing a claim doesn’t have to be. OPIC created pages dedicated to residential property claims, first-party auto claims and third-party auto claims. These pages include tips on filing a claim, what to expect during the claims handling process, and what to do if there is a problem with your claim.
OPIC Provides Comments on TWIA Rate Analysis
July 31, 2019
OPIC sent comments to TWIA regarding their rate adequacy analysis on July 31, 2019. We expressed concerns with the methodologies and assumptions used, and that TWIA’s overall rate indication is inflated.
OPIC Attends 2019 HUB Expo
July 31, 2019
OPIC staff attended a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Vendor Expo in Los Calinas on May 6-7, 2019. The Spot Bid Fair let state agencies and universities set up booths and talk to local HUB vendors about purchasing contracts.
2018-2019 Comparing Texas HMOs Report Released
Governor Abbott Reappoints Melissa R. Hamilton as Public Counsel for OPIC
February 6, 2019
Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Melissa R. Hamilton as the Public Counsel for the Office of Public Insurance Counsel for a term set to expire on February 1, 2021. She was confirmed on March 6, 2019 and sworn in on March 25, 2019.
Our 2018 Achievements
January 3, 2019
We’ve been working hard for consumers this year. Here are just some of our biggest highlights from 2018:
- Reviewed, analyzed, and intervened in approximately 1,500 rate, rule, and form filings.
- Advocated for lower auto and homeowners insurance rates and fees, resulting in lower rates and fees that saved consumers almost $2 million.
- Testified in an industry-wide workers compensation hearing, arguing for lower rates for Texas businesses.
- Filed a letter of objection with the Commissioner of Insurance opposing the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA)’s proposed rate increase on coastal policyholders.
- Updated Policy Comparison Tool to be browser and mobile-friendly and added filtering options.
OPIC Releases Recommendations Report to the 86th Texas Legislature
January 1, 2019
OPIC recommends three bills to the Texas Legislature to promote transparency and provide insurance consumers with more information about their policies.
- Require flood disclosures on residential property applications
- Extend declarations page requirement to personal automobile policies
- Provide consumers with new options for receiving health plan notices
OPIC Objects to TWIA Rate Filing
August 14, 2018
OPIC filed an objection with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) yesterday asking the Commissioner of Insurance to disapprove the 10% rate increase submitted by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) on August 14, 2018.
Plain Language Initiative Underway
OPIC is committed to helping Texas consumers better understand insurance so that they can purchase insurance policies that best meet their needs.
As part of these efforts, OPIC is making its info easier to understand by use of plain language.
Plain language makes communications easier to understand by using less jargon, shorter sentences, bigger text, and simplified formatting.