The Texas Department of Insurance has posted information and brief summaries of selected bills enacted during the 83rd Legislative regular session that relate to property/casualty insurance.
The bills listed may require action by regulated individuals and entities. The department advised affected entities to refer to the actual bills for the complete content of the legislation.
- HB 949: Continuation of Auto Coverage for Certain Motor Vehicles – HB 949 requires a personal automobile policy to provide coverage for certain vehicles acquired by the insured during the policy period. Effective Sept. 1, 2013. Applies only to an insurance policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2014.
- SB 112: Residential Property Declarations Page – SB 112 requires the insurer to include the declarations page with its residential property insurance policy form. The declarations page must list and explain each deductible under the policy and include the exact dollar amount of each deductible. Effective Sept. 1, 2013. Applies only to an insurance policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2014.
- SB 181: Verification of Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Information – SB 181 allows a driver to show proof of auto liability insurance to a peace officer with a wireless communication device. Effective immediately.
- SB 183: Information Requests – SB 183 increases the time a person has to respond to a Texas Insurance Code §38.001 request for information from the Texas Department of Insurance from 10 days to 15 days. The bill provides for a 10-day automatic extension if requested and requires the department to keep a record of all TIC §38.001 inquiries. Effective Sept. 1, 2013. Applies only to an inquiry made by the department on or after that date.
- SB 698: Refund of Unearned Premium – SB 698 requires insurers to return unearned premium to consumers on residential property and personal automobile insurance policies within 15 business days of the effective date of cancellation or termination. Effective immediately.
- SB 733: Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association – SB 733 authorizes the governing committee of TAIPA to meet by telephone or videoconference and eliminates annual rate filings. The bill requires the commissioner to approve or disapprove rate filings within 30 days and provides for an extension of the review period. It also requires a rate hearing only if the proposed rates exceed 105 percent of the current rates for each coverage. Effective immediately.
- SB 736: Consumer Inquiries – SB 736 prohibits insurers from using an underwriting guideline, nonrenewing, cancelling, or charging a different rate based solely on a consumer inquiry. Effective Sept. 1, 2013.
- SB 839: Coverage for Portable Electronic Devices – SB 839 requires insurers to provide notice to consumers when a portable electronics insurance policy changes or terminates coverage. It allows an insurer to terminate a policy without notice under certain circumstances. The bill also requires licensed vendors to disclose the inclusion of insurance coverage when the coverage is included in the cost associated with the purchase or lease of a covered electronic device. Effective Sept. 1, 2013.
- SB 840: Discrimination, Rebates, or Inducements – SB 840 allows insurers or their agents to give an item that is a promotional advertising item, educational item, or traditional courtesy commonly extended to consumers and that is valued at $25 or less. Effective Sept. 1, 2013.
- SB 852: Availability of Certain Property and Casualty Insurance Forms– SB 852 allows an insurer to post personal and commercial automobile, inland marine, and residential property specimen policies and endorsements on the insurer’s website. An insured may request a printed or electronic copy of a specimen policy. Declaration pages for new and renewal business must provide information about policies being available on the insurer’s website. Companies may submit their declaration pages and specimen policies through SERFF. Effective Sept. 1, 2013.
- SB 1074: Electronic Transmission of Insurance Documentation – SB 1074 addresses the conduct of insurance business electronically and the electronic transmission of insurance documents. It provides detailed minimum standards and requires compliance with the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act in the Business and Commerce Code Chapter 322. The bill specifies that electronic delivery is equivalent to any delivery method required by law, including delivery by first class mail, postage prepaid, and certified mail. Effective Sept. 1, 2013. Applies only to a written communication delivered by electronic means on or after Jan.1, 2014.
- SB 1286: Professional Employer Services/Organizations – SB 1286 defines co-employment and establishes who is responsible for various employment issues and how the relationship works between clients and the Professional Employer Organization (PEO). It allows clients to purchase their own workers’ compensation insurance rather than being covered under the workers’ compensation policy for the PEO. It defines covered employee and provides information about which experience modifier applies in various situations. Effective Sept. 1, 2013.
- SB 1567: Coverage of Certain Persons Under an Automobile Insurance Policy – SB 1567 defines a named driver policy and requires that all personal auto policies provide at least the minimum coverage required by Chapter 601, Subchapter D, Transportation Code. Before accepting any premium or fee for a named driver policy, SB 1567 requires: 1) the agent or insurer to provide oral and written disclosures to the insured; 2) the insured to contemporaneously in writing confirm the oral disclosure; and 3) the insurer to receive a signed disclosure from the insured. Effective Sept. 1, 2013. Applies only to an insurance policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2014.
- SB 1702: Residential Property Insured by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association – SB 1702 modified eligibility requirements for certain residential structures that do not have a certificate of compliance showing that construction meets the windstorm building code. Effective immediately.
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