Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 8, 2003
Contact: Mike Lavigne, (512) 463-0113

Senator Ellis Passes Major Insurance Bills out of Committee

Austin, TX- Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) passed two important pieces of legislation involving life insurance policies out of the Senate State Affairs Committee today. The bills, SB 1061 and SB 137, address race based insurance pricing, Holocaust victim insurance policies, and "dead peasant" insurance policies.

SB 1061 has two major components. The bill creates criminal penalties for issuing and collecting premiums on "race based" insurance policies. Added to SB 1061 was a section creating the Texas Holocaust Insurance Policy Registry. The new language will require insurers that sold, own, or are owned by companies that sold, Holocaust era insurance policies to provide information about those policies to the Department of Insurance. The Department will then create a registry of all such information to be made available to Holocaust victims and their families.

"The Holocaust was a shameful time in World History," said Senator Ellis. "The sooner that the world comes to terms with the realities of the Holocaust, the sooner we can learn to avoid another one."

SB 137 creates new restrictions on "dead peasant" insurance policies. The bill requires that employees and retirees whose lives are being insured by their employers must be given adequate notice and give informed consent. These provisions are modeled after New York Law.

"I believe this legislation will curb most of the abuses in the current system," said Senator Ellis. "If this passes we will have some of the toughest laws in the country against "dead peasant" policies"

Both SB 1061 and SB 137 were certified for the Local and Uncontested Calendar in the Senate.