Senator Bob Deuell
Texas Senate, District 2
P.O. Box 12068 Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711

DATE: February 3, 2002
CONTACT: Don T. Forse, Jr.
(512) 463-0102

Deuell Addresses Rising Homeowners Insurance

AUSTIN -- On Wednesday, Senator Robert F. Deuell joined other Texas Senators in filing emergency legislation that requires insurance companies to immediately file with state regulators their current homeowners insurance rates and projected rates for the next six-month period .

The Legislation also gives the Commissioner of Insurance the authority to seek information about credit scoring formulas and methodologies, as well as all data used by insurers to determine homeowners insurance premiums are calculated.

Senator Deuell said the state must be sure consumers are being treated fairly.

"The price of homeowners insurance is escalating to a near-crisis level," Deuell said. "People call my office every day wanting to know why their premiums have increased."

"We need to ensure that rates are fair and reasonable, and not excessive or discriminatory," Deuell said. "This is a good place to start as we move forward with major insurance reforms this session."

Senate Bill 310 calls on the Commissioner of Insurance to prepare and deliver a summary of the data to the Legislature within 30 days after passage of the bill. The bill was referred to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, and hearings on the bill have already started.

The legislation applies to insurance companies, reciprocal or interinsurance exchanges, mutual, capital stock companies, county mutuals, associations or Lloyd's plan companies. Every insurance company that writes homeowners policies in Texas is subject to this legislation.

The insurance commissioner may require companies to file any manuals, rating schedules, plan of rules, rating rules, classification systems, territory codes and descriptions and other information that insurance companies use to determine policyholder premiums -- including credit scoring formulas and methodologies.

Deuell joined several Senators in joining the legislation filed by Senator Troy Fraser (R- Horseshoe Bay).

The filing of the bill comes less than a week after Governor Rick Perry officially designated insurance and medical malpractice reform as emergency issues for the 78th Texas Legislature. The governor's designation allows state lawmakers to begin work on these issues within the session's first 60 days.