Texas Commission Says Insurance Counsel Should Remain Independent

October 9, 2008

Although the staff of Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended earlier this year that the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC), which represents consumers as a class in insurance regulation, be abolished and its functions folded into the Texas Department of Insurance, the Sunset Commission in late September declined to support that position.

Staff had recommended abolishing OPIC as an independent agency and establishing a Consumer Representative and staff within TDI, responsible for ensuring that TDI considers the consumer perspective in insurance regulation matters. However, then-OPIC Executive Director Rod Bordelon, now Commissioner of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, opposed the recommendation. In addition, Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin told the Sunset Commission that the insurance department felt strongly that OPIC should be maintained as a separate agency.

Several associations representing insurance companies, including the American Insurance Association, the Property and Casualty Insurers of America and the Texas Coalition for Affordable Insurance Solutions expressed support for the proposal.

Ultimately the commission opted to maintain OPIC as a separate agency and review its effectiveness again in 12 years, a proposal put forth by state Senator Glenn Hegar, Jr., vice chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission.

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