On April 20, 2009, the Texas State Senate issued a press release announcing approval of Senate Bill 1007 (“SB 1007” or the “Bill”) authorizing continued operation of the Texas Department of Insurance (“TDI”) and slightly reforming certain TDI operations.
The Bill comes in response to a finding by an advisory commission (the “Sunset Advisory Commission”) charged with regularly assessing the continued need for state agencies, such as the TDI. The Sunset Advisory Commission found that Texas has an ongoing need to regulate insurance, but that certain changes were needed to improve the transparency and accountability. As a result, SB 1007 reauthorizes the TDI, but reforms certain operations. Among other things, the Bill clarifies the process used to approve insurance rate changes. It provides a 30 day period for TDI to review and administratively disapprove a rate under the file-and-use system. It also requires the TDI to collect and publish certain information regarding the process of personal automobile and residential property claims, and requires the TDI to regularly examine title agents.
The Bill will next be considered by the House, and is scheduled for public hearing on April 28, 2009. If adopted, the Bill will go into effect on September 1, 2009.