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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 2198 would expand the authority of the commissioner of insurance to investigate an offense under the Penal Code that may be related to a fraudulent insurance act. Additionally, the commissioner would be allowed to provide technical or litigation assistance to other governmental agencies relating to fraudulent insurance acts or offenses under the Penal Code.
Insurance fraud results in higher premium costs for all policyholders since insurers divide the costs of claims among all policyholders. By allowing the commissioner to investigate any offense under the Penal Code, the commissioner is made into another law enforcement agent. This type of authority goes too far by granting the commissioner of insurance power that falls outside its scope.
However, according to the author’s office, the commissioner already retains that authority under different provisions of the Penal Code. This legislation would only clarify that existing authority in the Insurance Code.
For this reason, we stand neutral on HB 2198.