Insurance Regulation Bill Proposed to Require Companies to Rollback Rates
Austin - The Senate Committee on Business and Commerce heard invited testimony today on Senate Bill (SB) 400 which would require insurance companies to roll rates back to the levels that were in effect on January 1, 2001, and regulate insurance companies by requiring their rates be approved by the commissioner of insurance. San Antonio Senator Leticia Van de Putte's proposed legislation would also require insurance companies to disclose underwriting guidelines and authorizes the Texas Department of Insurance to adopt and approve insurance rating manuals. In addition, SB 400 would prohibit the use of credit scoring for both underwriting and rating.
Senator Van de Putte said that SB 400 will put the burden of proof on the insurance companies to prove that their rates are not excessive and will ensure that insurer's rating practices no longer remain secret. She said that the bill will give homeowners a deserved relief and will provide them an average refund of $436.
Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst broke with tradition and asked Colonel Sam Johnson to address the Senate today.
In other committee news, Health and Human Services voted two bills out of committee, which were sponsored by Laredo Senator Judith Zaffirini. SB 43 would require the Texas Department of Health to file a final report on the physician-to-physician immunization education pilot program called Educating Physicians In your Community, or EPIC. SB 74 calls for a comprehensive report summarizing statewide and local initiatives to enhance the quality of child care.
In session today, the Senate broke from tradition by allowing Colonel Sam Johnson, Congressman and former prisoner of war, to speak at the Lieutenant Governor's podium. In his speech, Johnson recalled a quote written on the walls of the cell where he was a POW that read "freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die that the protected will never know." He was honored by several rounds of standing ovations from everyone present in the Chamber. Senator Florence Shapiro from Addison proclaimed Johnson an American hero and commended the Colonel in Senate Resolution 147.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, February 19, 2003, at 11:00 a.m.
Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.