News Releases

2020

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.

2020 Recommendations Report

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 driversbecause those offenses don’t prove a direct correlation to accident riskAfter our objectionsonly 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.  

The Texas Gulf Coast was impacted by several hurricanes this year. OPIC created resources for those affected by Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta to help with the recovery and claims processes. 

OPIC Creates Hurricane Delta Resource Page

October 8, 2020

We’ve created a web page with information to help you recover after Hurricane Delta. You can also download a copy of our “Filing a Claim After Hurricane Delta” flyer to help you start the claims filing process.

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.

We also created a COVID-19 FAQ page to help consumers navigate the sea of information during the pandemic and an article with resources for small business owners affected during this difficult time. 

OPIC Creates Hurricane Laura Resource Page

August 28, 2020

We’ve created a web page with information to help you recover after Hurricane Laura. You can also download a copy of our “Filing a Claim After Hurricane Laura” flyer to help you start the claims filing process.

2019-2020 HMO Report Cards Now Available

August 3, 2020

OPIC released its annual Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) reports this week. The reports, Comparing Texas HMOs 2019-2020 and Guide to Texas HMO Quality 2019-2020, provide Texans with consumer satisfaction and quality of care information about HMOs.

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 mental health and substance abuse disorder parity requirements.

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. 

For more information on COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 FAQ page or DSHS website.

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. 

2019

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’s Letter to TWIA

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 claimsfirst-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.

TWIA Rate Adequacy Analysis Letter

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

March 1, 2019

OPIC published the 2018-2019 edition of our Comparing Texas HMOs: Health Plan Quality from a Consumer’s Point of View report. You can download and print a copy or request a copy to be mailed to you.

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.

Official Announcement

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 2019 Recommendations Report 

2018

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. 

OPIC Objection Letter