I consume a lot of news regarding policyholder regulations and laws around the country. However, for various reasons, I am always on the lookout for such news from the state of Texas. In many ways, Texas is similar to Florida: Texas is vulnerable to hurricanes and other natural disasters, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) was set up as an insurer of last resort in an attempt to stabilize the property insurance market, Texas has some of the highest property insurance rates in the country, and the Texas insurance lobby is a very powerful force. Sound Familiar?
Therefore, I was very interested in a recent article discussing Texas Senate Bill 1628. This bill would have some far reaching and negative consequences for policyholders. (Click here for a summary of the bill.) The article Business leaders, lawyers and lobbyists line up against insurance bill appeared in the Dallas Morning News. I had to the read the following paragraph a few times to make sure I was not hallucinating:
Business leaders, lawyers and lobbyists, including those representing Trammell Crow Residential, La Quinta Inn, Sovereign Bank and dozens of other companies, flooded state legislators with letters, emails and phone calls this week in an effort to kill the proposed law, which is expected to come up for a final vote before the legislative session ends Tuesday.
Can you imagine such a coalition being formed in Florida to fight against an anti-consumer insurance bill? Before reading this article, I would have said no. However, this article shows that maybe there is a point at which the general business community will stand up to the insurance industry and say “Enough!.” In Texas, SB 1628 was that line.
Look at these quotes from the article:
David Mims, senior vice president of Dallas-based La Quinta Inns, wrote a letter to House Speaker Joe Straus saying that the legislation 'will negatively impact every type of business that attempts to have legitimate business claims paid by insurance companies.'
'A lot of people are suddenly realizing that this is a crazy, wacky bill that benefits out-of-state insurance companies at the expense of Texas businesses and homeowners,' said Robert Ryan, the deputy general counsel of Houston-based Stallion Oil Field Services.
'This legislation would hurt our company and the thousands of employees who work for us,' said Kimberly Lubel, the CEO of San Antonio-based CST Brands, which operates more than 650 Corner Store convenience stores in Texas.
'I strongly oppose any legislation that gives the insurance industry more leverage than they already have over businesses or individuals,' said Lubel, who formerly was the general counsel at Valero Energy.
Hotels, Oil companies, corner store owners, and energy companies standing with insurance consumers against the insurance industry? Awesome. Of course, the insurance industry says that the bill is pro-consumer, prevents abusive lawsuits, and blames trial lawyers for organizing opposition against the bill. As a side note, the day a trial lawyer can organize hotels, oil companies, corner store owners, and energy companies to do anything, something very cold will happen in someplace really hot. In fact, the business groups stated that the people behind this bill (insurers) were so focused on hurting trial lawyers they were blinded as to how bad this bill really was for consumers. Wow.
I am fascinated and pleased that in Texas, (and therefore maybe Florida), there is a point at which the general business community will stand up to the insurance industry on behalf of insurance consumers. Thank you.