Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

January 29, 2003
Contact: Janet Stieben
(512) 463-0104, (281) 296-0023

Williams Joins Insurance Reform

Legislation Requires Companies to Open Books

January 29, 2002 (Austin, Texas) Senator Tommy Williams is co-authoring legislation requiring insurance companies to immediately file with state regulators their current and projected homeowners insurance rates for the next six months.

"The cost and availability of insurance has reached the crisis level in Texas," said Williams. "Families are finding their premiums have doubled, tripled and even worse - cancelled, even though they've faithfully paid their premiums for years."

Senate Bill 310, filed by Senator Troy Fraser, chairman of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, gives the state insurance commissioner authority to obtain information about insurance companies' credit scoring formulas, and other supporting data the insurance companies use to determine homeowners premiums.

The legislation also requires the state insurance commissioner to prepare and deliver a summary of the data to the Legislature within 30 days after passage of the bill. The bill is expected to be heard and passed out of committee this week.

"Companies have purposefully avoided our state's rate regulation mechanism by becoming Lloyds companies. This bill makes every insurance company writing Texas homeowners insurance policies subject to this examination," Williams said.

Governor Rick Perry officially designated insurance reform as an emergency issue for the 78th Texas Legislature. This designation allows state lawmakers to begin work on the issue within the first 60 days of the current session.

Senator Williams is a member of the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, and represents Senate District 4 which includes Chambers, Liberty, Orange and parts of Harris, Jefferson and Montgomery counties.