The AARP Texas and Texas Watch announced a new statewide campaign to pass true homeowners insurance reforms and eliminate unjustified rate hikes.
Together, the organizations represent over two million Texans.
The announcement comes on the heels of a report issued by the Texas Department of Insurance that shows an improved loss ratio for the state’s homeowners market.
The groups say Texas homeowners currently pay the highest premiums in the nation. They contend that despite passage of modest insurance reform in 2003, rates continue to climb for many Texas families while their coverage has decreased dramatically.
In September 2003, TDI revealed that insurance companies are currently overcharging Texas homeowners by hundreds of millions of dollars through excessive premiums. TDI ordered companies to reduce rates to eliminate excessive overcharges.
As of March 16, 2004, Texas homeowners have been overcharged by more than $287 million, according to AARP and Texas Watch.
The organizations are calling on Texas legislators to stand up to the special interest insurance industry lobby and force them to stop overcharging Texas homeowners. Additionally, AARP has sent a letter to insurance industry leaders urging them to take decisive action on behalf of Texas homeowners and honor their IOU to policyholders.
“While Texas homeowners are waiting for the rate rollbacks they were promised, insurance companies are raking in windfall profits as they continue to charge excessive premiums,” stated Dan Lambe, executive director of Texas Watch. “We need to pass real insurance reform that protects everyday Texans, not the insurance industry.”
“The insurance industry has failed to live up to the promises they made to Texas legislators, regulators and worst of all to Texas families,” stated Gus Cardenas, president of AARP Texas. “The Texas Legislature must flex its muscle and force the insurance industry to be accountable for their actions, the rates they charge and the service they provide Texas policyholders.”
Texas Watch will be holding workshops across the state for Texans who would like to become a part of their “Citizen Lobby Team” to help in the fight for true insurance reform. In 2003 there were 1,878 registered lobbyists in Texas working on insurance issues, according to Texas Watch. The Citizen Lobby Team is meant to counter the influence and power of the multi-million dollar insurance lobby in the Texas Capitol.
Information about the Citizen Lobby Team as well as useful consumer help materials, are available for all Texans by calling the toll free help line (888) 738-4226 or by visiting www.fixtexasinsurance.com.
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