Senate Business and Commerce Committee
Austin - The Senate Committee on Business and Commerce met today to consider Senate Bill 14 and Senate Bill 310 relating to insurance in its first meeting of the 78th Legislative Session.
The Committee heard public testimony on Senate Bill 310, also referred to as the State of Homeowners Industry Report because it requires providers of residential property insurance to file rates and data on a one-time basis. It heard testimony in support of the legislation from representatives from the Department of Insurance, the Association of Fire and Casualty Companies of Texas, and the Consumers Union. The Business and Commerce Committee voted unanimously to favorably recommend the bill to the Senate.
Some concerns were expressed during the invited testimony on Senate Bill 14, which regulates the rates of personal automobile and homeowners insurance under a file and use system with a sixty day waiting period. The proposed legislation would require insurers writing homeowners and personal auto insurance in Texas to file rates, rating manuals, supplementary supporting data, and policy and service fees for approval by the Commissioner of Insurance.
Senator Mike Jackson from Pasadena, sponsor of the bill, defined the key components of the measure as bringing insurance rates down and giving consumers choices. Rob Schneider, Senior Staff Attorney for Consumers Union, was concerned that the bill may only be a temporary fix. Several witnesses said they wanted better protection for consumers and a competitive environment for the industry.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, February 3, 2003, at 1:30 p.m.