The Texas Department of Insurance announced it is preparing staff and resources to be ready for the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, wherever the storm makes landfall.
TDI said it is maintaining staff at the Division of Emergency Management State Operations Center. TDI is part of the Rapid Assessment Team that will go into the disaster area to survey the extent of damage.
TDI is conducting regular briefings with the Texas State Disaster Coalition, a group that includes industry members, to assure clear communication and full coordination following any disaster.
TDI is securing department assets and personnel in the storm’s path, including Financial, Windstorm, State Fire Marshal’s Office and Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) field offices. DWC field offices that may be affected by the storm, including the Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Houston, Missouri City, and Victoria offices will be closed on Thursday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept. 23. Injured workers needing assistance in the affected areas may contact the DWC by calling (800) 252-7031 or (800) 372-7713.
TDI is assembling several teams to be ready to deploy to FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs). At the DRCs, TDI staff will assist consumers with insurance questions and claims.
TDI staff will also be sent to Insurance Assistance Centers (IACs). An IAC includes industry representatives co-located with TDI staff to provide one-stop insurance assistance to consumers.
TDI’s Consumer Help Line (1-800-252-3439) will be staffed 7-days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
TDI will conduct outreach activities to shelters and consumer organizations so that Texans impacted by the disaster know how to get help with insurance matters.
TDI is preparing a number of regulatory bulletins regarding Commissioner directives in response to the disaster, including data collection, extension of deadlines, waiver of certain requirements, etc.
TDI will closely monitor the financial condition and responsiveness of the industry, especially regarding consumer complaints.
Up-to-date information will be posted on TDI’s Web site at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us, with the latest agency bulletins, locations of DRCs and IACs and contact information for consumers. For assistance with insurance questions, call (800) 252-3439. For assistance with workers’ compensation issues, call (800) 372-7713.
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