Texas Says, “We’ll Help You Shop Around”

March 24, 2011

The Texas legislature recently filed two separate bills that would require insurance companies to be more forthcoming with customers with regard to rate increase information, and would also expand consumer resources for shopping the insurance market.

In the words of Representative Armando Walle (Houston), House Bills 2723 and 2724 would, “…help consumers fully understand the premium increases imposed by insurance companies and will give consumers information on how they can shop around.”

According to the website for the Texas House of Representatives, HB 2723 addresses accident and health insurance policies. The measure stipulates that insurers must give policyholders sixty days’ notice of rate increases, and the notification has to include the amount of the increase, and how consumers can file complaints. The measure also requires that rate increase information be post to the web, and consumers notified of where it can be found, what the justifications for the increase are, and what alternative coverage options may exist.

HB 2724, according to the same website, includes similar stipulations addressing residential property and personal automobile insurance. At the time of policy renewal, the policyholder’s existing insurer would be required to provide a side-by-side comparison of new and old rates, provide information on any changes in coverage, and offer resources on how consumers can shop around for different coverage. In addition, deductibles must be stated as a dollar amount, and not as a percentage of the policy’s total value.