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Texas Department of Insurance

The legislature in 1874 decided that the state needed a department to control all the activities of the insurance industry. So a department which included insurance, statistics and history as its coverage area was formed and a commissioner was appointed to be the head. The commissioner had the responsibility of maintaining the statistics of the population, documenting history and was the state librarian in addition to monitoring the insurance industry.

Later as time passed, agriculture was added to the area of coverage under the department, and then banking was included. As time passed, the industry grew and the need for separate departments increased, which resulted in the separation of the agriculture sector as well as the banking sector from the supervision of the department. As the responsibilities of the department and the commissioner were revised, duties were added and some were separated. Finally in 1993, the 73rd legislation passed a law giving the state insurance board the full authority on all matters related to insurance industry including policy rates and forms, with the insurance commissioner appointed by the governor in every odd year for a term of two years.

It took all the years from 1874 to 1993 for the Texas department of insurance to be formed. During this time, the insurance industry also grew into a large scale industry. In earlier days, the commissioner was appointed based on his qualifications and experience in the banking sector rather than the qualifications in the insurance sector. Now the knowledge related to the insurance industry and its operations is the only major criteria when the commissioner is appointed.

The Texas department of insurance has the aim of creating a financially sound insurance industry in the state and making the insurance products available at affordable cost to all the population who requires the coverage.

The Texas department of insurance provides a fair and efficient service to the community based on the concepts of insurance which has changed over time so that the insurance products are always available and nobody is

denied of the coverage because of the cost. It also forms and executes the laws related to insurance which enables the department to ensure that the insurers are being honest with the customers as well as there are no frauds. It also has an education department which through notices and other material, provides information to the public and reduces the risk of the public being cheated of their rights because of lack of awareness. It also offers its services to the customers in solving the disputes regarding claims and other legal complaints against insurers.

The professional standards of the insurers as well as the agents who work for the insurers are evaluated by the department of insurance to ensure that quality professional service is being provided to the customers. The department also has set clear standards and norms under which the insurers are required to perform. The job of the department does not end when the norms and regulations are set, but they also make it a point to monitor the functioning of the industry to ensure that the set rules and regulations are followed by the insurers and defaulters are identified. By doing all these measures, the department of insurance ensures that the people in Texas are provided with quality service from the insurance companies. These measures also ensure that there is a fair competition among the insurers which also is in favor of the people as they get several choices on the insurance products as there as several insurers offering the same product.

People of Texas are considered to be the main customers of the department. The departments main duty is to ensure that they are served well in all their dealings in the insurance sector, be it while purchasing a policy or while submitting a claim. There are laws to ensure that the claims submitted by the customers are paid promptly and fully. Also the customers need to be provided with all the services required from time to time with utmost courtesy from the employees of the insurers. By ensuring all these, the department of insurance ensures that the code of ethics in the insurance industry is followed by all the insurers.

The Texas department of insurance not only has a role to play in maintaining the service provided by the insurers or to ensure that the ethics are followed all among the insurers, it also forms laws and regulations to protect the insurers against any frauds. The department works continuously in identifying the frauds and tries constantly to prevent any fraud that occurs in the industry.

The department of insurance also has a complaint section where the customers can lodge in their complaints regarding any problems with the insurance companies. The Texas department of insurance has a website with complaint form which when duly filled in and submitted by any customer, is investigated by the officers of the department and ensures that appropriate action is taken. The department is also compliant with the HIPAA laws which ensure the privacy and confidentiality of personal and medical information provided by customers. These information which are submitted to the department are used diligently only for the necessary action.

Each year, the Texas department of insurance handles more than 30000 complaints from the customers. There are several advices from the department of insurance, based on all the complaints, to the customers of insurance, so as to avoid any problems related to their insurance policy. The client should be well versed with the policy rather than depending on the agent to know what is covered by the policy. Also the consumer should read the consumer bill of rights which the insurer is supposed to provide with auto, homeowners, credit life insurance etc. Always keep the correspondence that you have with the insurer. Talk to the insurance company official and try to get a fair settlement regarding any issues, but never rush into any settlement that is offered.

These simple measures adopted by the consumers in the insurance industry will help the industry get better and there would be lesser claim settlement issues and legal tussles. This is what the Texas department of insurance is aiming for the insurance industry in the state.

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