Via Texas LSG, Homeowner Insurance Rates Continue to Rise [PDF]. And there is no oversight.
State Farm has announced that they will raise homeowner insurance rates by 4.5 percent in May. This comes on the heels of an 8.8 percent increase in October. 1 Texas homeowners already pay the second highest insurance premiums in the country; such a steep rate increase hurts Texas homeowners financially as they navigate through the worst recession in a generation.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Texas homeowners have been charged excessive premiums. In November, State Farm was ordered to repay its customers $310 million for overcharging homeowners for coverage dating back to 2003.2 This sum was actually $700 million less than what consumer advocates and the state’s Public Insurance Counsel recommended.
Since no legislation that gave such regulatory power to the Department of Insurance passed, insurance companies are free to continue raising rates. The Commissioner has been left only with the ability to write a disapproving letter to companies.
I’m sure a disapproving letter really scares an insurance corporation like State Farm. State Rep!? Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) says it’s time for “meaningful” reform.
“Forcing rate increase after rate increase on Texas homeowners is unacceptable and it is past time for the legislature to reverse course on this loophole that became law in 2003,” Rep. Maldonado said. “Hard working Texans deserve a level of stability and accountability in this volatile economy. Texas homeowners already pay the second highest insurance premiums in the nation, and I will work to eliminate this loophole to ensure that Texas homeowners are treated fairly and that insurance agencies are not allowed to continue unjustly raising rates in Texas.”
It’s doubtful either of her potential “conservative” opponents care much fore regulating the insurance corporations, and helping hardworking home owners.
These rate hikes require no prior approval of any kind. It might be important to mention, the Texas Insurance Commissioner is also appointed, not elected. This means the only person who can reprimand the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Commissioner, Mike Geeslin, is Rick Perry. Geeslin, has served as the Commissioner since 2005.
If Texas have to wait for Gov. Perry to help them in their fight against insurance corporations that help will never come. This means, at the current time, there is no regulation of homeowners insurance in Texas.