Major Insurance Bills Filed in Texas

January 31, 2003

Texas lawmakers introduced two bills in Texas legislature that aim to control rising insurance rates in the state.

Texas State Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay announced the filing of Senate Bill 310, requiring insurance companies doing business in Texas to immediately file their current rates and projected rates for the next six-month period for homeowners insurance with state regulators.

“We need to know that the rates being charged for homeowners insurance are just, reasonable, adequate, not excessive, and not unfairly discriminatory,” said Fraser, chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce.

The legislation gives the state insurance commissioner the authority to seek information about insurance companies’ credit scoring formulas and methodologies, as well as all supporting data used by insurers to determine homeowners insurance premiums. The insurance commissioner is then required to prepare and deliver a summary of the data to the Legislature within 30 days after passage of the bill.

According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram, another bill—House Bill 600—filed by state Rep. Steven Wolens of Dallas, would roll homeowners insurance rates back to levels last seen in Jan. 2001 and save policyholders an average of $436 per year. It would require prior state approval of rate increases, open underwriting guidelines and rate information to the public, and ban credit scoring. In addition companies that are currently not under state regulation and that write 95 percent of homeowners insurance in Texas, would be brought under state oversight.

Governor Rick Perry previously declared homeowners insurance reform an emergency issue for the legislature.

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