FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/17/2011
Rep. Walle Files Bills to Increase Insurance Policy Transparency
Legislation Would Increase Competition in Insurance Markets
AUSTIN -- State Representative Armando Walle (Houston) recently filed House Bill 2723 and House Bill 2724, which would require insurance companies to provide their customers with more complete information on rate increases and resources available to the consumers in shopping the market.
"These measures will help consumers fully understand the premium increases imposed by insurance companies and will give consumers information on how they can shop around," said Rep. Walle. "We absolutely must give consumers the tools they need to be well-informed about their policies."
Under H.B. 2723, an insurer must notify consumers of the rate increase 60 days prior to it taking effect to an accident and health insurance policy. The notice would have to include the amount of the increase and information about how to file a complaint. Additionally, the bill would require the notice to include website addresses where consumers can access information regarding rate increase justifications and alternative coverage options.
"Policyholders deserve clear information about upcoming rate increases with enough time to plan accordingly or shop around if they are unhappy with the product," said Rep. Walle.
H.B. 2724 would provide similar provisions for residential property and personal automobile insurance. At the time of a policy renewal, the insurance company would be required to provide a side-by-side comparison of the new and old rates, as well as provide information on any changes in coverage and how to shop around. The bill also requires insurers to give the deductible in a dollar amount, rather than in a percent of the total value of the policy.
"When we have a goal of encouraging markets to operate efficiently, there is no substitute for well-informed consumers," said Rep. Walle. "I believe that these bills will go a long way towards driving a more competitive market through consumers who are more knowledgeable of both prices and the alternatives to their current policies."
Rep. Armando Walle is serving his second term in the Texas House of Representatives and serves on the House Committee on Insurance and the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. He represents House District 140, which includes northern portions of unincorporated Harris County and the City of Houston.