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Relating to the availability of certain property and casualty insurance forms on the Internet.
SB 494 amends Section 1812.002 of the Insurance Code pertaining to the accessibility of insurance forms on an insurer’s website. Specifically, it will allow the office of public insurance counsel (OPIC) to post an insurer’s specimen policy on OPIC’s website. The bill’s author intends for this to increase insurer transparency by allowing consumers to compare the policy language of different plans.
Currently Section 1812.002 makes it an option for insurers to post specimen policies on their respective websites. However, a low number of insurers actually made their policy forms available on the internet, which is why the author intends for this bill to increase the availability of the forms on OPIC’s website. The legislation clarifies that it does not create a duty for insurer’s to comply with chapter 1812 regarding the availability of specimen policies.
No changes have been made to this legislation in the House committee. The House chamber sponsor is Rep. Muñoz, Jr.
First chamber recommendation:
Even though an insurer’s specimen forms are public information the current iteration of Chapter 1812 of the Insurance Code does not force an insurer to post it on their website; it only makes it an option. However, SB 494 usurps an insurer’s ability to make this decision by allowing OPIC to post an insurer’s policies on OPIC’s website. Additionally, OPIC does not need approval from the insurer to do this.
These specimen policies may have proprietary information and it should be the insurer’s decision whether to make them available on their website or OPIC’s website. Since SB 494 takes away an insurer’s ability to determine how it makes its policies available, it violates our principles for private property rights, free markets, and individual liberty.