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You are here: www.tdi.texas.gov . consumer . storms . hcoalition

Texas State Disaster Coalition

Texas State Disaster Coalition Catastrophe Plan | Communication During a Disaster | Insurer Information And Disaster Plans | Access to Disaster Areas | Insurance Adjusters | Texas State Disaster Coalition Member Organizations

Links to Texas State Disaster Coalition Agendas and Meeting Notes

Texas State Disaster Coalition Catastrophe Plan

Following a disaster in Texas, the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) coordinates the state´s disaster response and recovery efforts. When TDEM activates the state Emergency Operations Council, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) sends staff volunteers to disaster areas to assist consumers with insurance questions and help them resolve claim issues.

TDI may participate in outreach activities such as speaking about insurance issues at public meetings, distributing information about services available to disaster victims, and staffing Disaster Recovery Centers. TDI staff may also receive and follow up on complaints in the field, visit disaster areas to speak with consumers and adjusters, and call insurer catastrophe managers to discuss specific insurance problems. TDI provides information about its activities to TDEM for inclusion in TDEM´s daily situation reports. TDI´s disaster outreach efforts are coordinated through TDEM.

TDI, TDEM, and the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), a nonprofit educational organization sponsored by the property and casualty insurance industry, formed a state disaster coalition of industry and government agency members in 2001. The Texas State Disaster Coalition (TSDC) began meeting in June 2001 and has met quarterly since then. The coalition affirmed the TDEM and TDI catastrophe plans already in place including these roles and responsibilities:

  • TDEM coordinates the state´s response to a disaster. TDEM oversees the activities of state agencies, coordinates with federal and local authorities, and serves as the lead for communicating with the public about a disaster.
  • TDI provides information to the public, handles consumer complaints, and conducts outreach activities to make sure consumers´ claims are handled appropriately. During disaster season, TDI provides information to help minimize property losses. Overall, TDI´s role is to assist consumers in recovering valid claims; respond promptly to complaints against insurers, agents, adjusters, and other regulated entities; and investigate unfair or illegal practices. TDI establishes relationships with other governmental agencies and community groups, and conducts community relations activities throughout the year. The Consumer Protection (CP) Senior Associate Commissioner serves as the agency´s disaster lead.
  • Insurers are responsible for communicating with their own policyholders regarding disaster claims and for expediting the claims process.

In the event of an extreme disaster, TDI may activate members of the coalition as part of its disaster response. An extreme disaster may be a discrete event or a linked series of events that have caused or have the potential to cause either a large loss of life or a widespread disruption of key infrastructures persisting for 24 hours or more. Examples include:

  • a series of tornadoes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,
  • a Category 4 or 5 hurricane in the Houston/Galveston area, or
  • major damage to an urban center precipitated by terrorism, a biohazard, or other human activities.

Communication During a Disaster

Upon TDI´s activation by TDEM due to a State Emergency Disaster situation, the Consumer Protection Senior Associate Commissioner or her designee may request that representatives from the largest Texas underwriters, the Southwestern Insurance Information Service (SIIS), the Emergency Management Association of Texas (EMAT), and other TSDC members be available for daily conference calls. Participating insurance companies will be determined based on TDI´s quarterly market data reports. The CP Senior Associate Commissioner will coordinate communications through ongoing teleconference calls before, during, and after a disaster. Discussion topics could include companies´ disaster response plans, catastrophe site updates, companies´ catastrophe operations, and emerging issues.

Insurer Information And Disaster Plans

Insurance industry representatives in the TSDC agree to provide TDI with Internet links to nonprofit websites that are beneficial to the public before, during, and after a disaster. The links will be added to TDI´s Disaster Preparedness Resource Pages website.

On or about June 1 of each year, TDI will request that insurers certify that they have a Disaster Response Plan for Texas. The plan should address these questions:

  • How will the company handle an increase in the number of claims?
  • Will the claims be handled by the local office structure, or through the establishment of a catastrophe claims office/center?
  • Will the company "import" claim representatives and adjusters from other areas?
  • How will the company train its staff in emergency procedures and Texas-specific insurance coverages?
  • How will the company distribute catastrophe claims information, or communicate generally, with its policyholders?

Access to Disaster Areas

TDI and TDEM recognize that the sooner insurers have information about the extent of the damage caused by a disaster, the quicker they can marshal their resources and deploy adjusters to the field and the quicker policyholders can receive checks. During a catastrophe event, TDEM and TDI will coordinate so that damage assessment information reaches insurers as quickly as possible. TDI will be responsible for coordinating distribution of the information. Strategies may include: distributing via the TDI and/or SIIS websites projections about potential damage gleaned from predictive models, information compiled from county by county damage assessment documents, or information gathered by the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) team.

In Texas, local emergency management officials will determine "when" anyone, be they law enforcement official, citizen, or insurance adjuster, may enter a catastrophe area. No state-issued badge will determine if or when an adjuster is allowed into a catastrophe area. The strategies listed below are means to facilitate access to catastrophe areas in the event of a disaster.

  • TDEM will provide a list of local emergency management coordinators and TDI will distribute it to TSDC members. Insurers are encouraged to have their local representatives contact the coordinators and establish working relationships with them now so that, in the event of a disaster, the local coordinators are already familiar with the insurer representatives.
  • EMAT will encourage local coordinators to host an "open house" for local insurer representatives.
  • During a disaster, TDI will post the location of the emergency operations center(s) so that insurers know where to go for current information about the disaster. In addition, coordinators will be encouraged to organize a tour of the disaster area for insurer representatives when it is safe to do so.

Insurance Adjusters

During a disaster, insurers can immediately bring adjusters into Texas who are licensed in other states. At least 33 states require independent or company adjuster licenses. These adjusters do not need an emergency or catastrophe license, and the insurers do not need to notify TDI they are bringing in such adjusters. However, adjusters licensed in other states may request reciprocity, that is, request a Texas license in advance, if they so desire. Insurers may also bring in adjusters from other states where there is no license requirement for adjusters without requesting a temporary or emergency license, though the insurer would be required to vouch for the adjuster, if asked.

A person who is undergoing education and training as an adjuster under the direction and supervision of a licensed adjuster may, at the beginning of his or her training period, apply for an adjuster trainee license. No fee is required for this license, which would be valid for a period of up to 12 months, as provided under Art. 21.07-4, §2(a), Texas Insurance Code (TIC).

If desired, emergency (or catastrophe) adjuster licenses may be obtained, under the sponsorship of a Texas-licensed insurer or adjuster, pursuant to Art. 21.07-4, §5, TIC, which provides as follows:

Catastrophe or Emergency Adjusters

Sec. 5. In the event of a catastrophe or emergency which arises out of a disaster, act of God, riot, civil commotion, conflagration, or other similar occurrence, the commissioner shall, upon application, issue an emergency license to persons who are residents or nonresidents of this state and who may or may not be otherwise licensed adjusters. Such emergency license shall remain in force for a period not to exceed 90 days, unless extended for an additional period of 90 days by the commissioner. The applicant must be certified by (i) a person licensed under the provisions of this Act, or by (ii) an insurer which maintains an office in this state and is licensed to do business in this state. The licensed adjuster or insurer who certifies said applicant under the provisions of this section of this Act shall be responsible for the loss or claims practices of the emergency license holder.

Within five days of any applicant commencing work as an adjuster hereunder, the employer of such adjuster shall certify to the commissioner such application without being deemed in violation of this Act, provided that the commissioner may, after notice and hearing, revoke said emergency license upon the grounds as otherwise contained in this Act providing for revocation of an adjuster´s license.

The fee for an emergency license shall be in an amount not to exceed $20 as determined by the commissioner and shall be due and payable within 30 days of the issuance of such emergency license.

The application to obtain a trainee or emergency adjuster´s license may be downloaded via TDI´s website. Using this application will enable licensed insurers or adjusters to certify that the application is submitted for the purposes identified in the law. The license application calls for information regarding the circumstances that qualify the applicant for the trainee or emergency license.

Applications will be reviewed and acted upon promptly. Mail completed applications to:

Agents Licensing, Applications Section
Mail Code 107-1A
Texas Department of Insurance
P.O. Box 12069
Austin, TX 78711-2069

These licensing procedures will facilitate prompt services to those citizens suffering losses. In the future, insurers will be able to complete and submit these applications electronically via the Internet and receive approval in the same manner.

Texas State Disaster Coalition Member Organizations

  • AIA - American Insurance Association
  • Allstate Insurance Companies
  • American Red Cross of Central Texas
  • EMAT - Emergency Management Association of Texas
  • Farmers Insurance Companies
  • FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency - Region VI
  • Firemen's Fund Insurance Company
  • Germania Insurance Company
  • TDEM - Texas Division of Emergency Management
  • HealthMarkets, Inc.
  • ICT - Insurance Council of Texas
  • Independent Insurance Agents of Texas
  • Kemper Insurance Companies
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies
  • NAII - National Association of Independent Insurers
  • NAMIC - National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
  • Nationwide Insurance Companies
  • NICB - National Insurance Crime Bureau
  • Office of Emergency Management - City of Austin
  • Office of Public Insurance Counsel
  • Progressive
  • PCIAA - Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
  • Safeco
  • SIIS - Southwestern Insurance Information Service
  • St. Paul/Travelers
  • State Farm Insurance Companies
  • Texas Department of Banking
  • Texas Department of Insurance
  • Texas Farm Bureau
  • Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool
  • Texas Mutual Insurance Company
  • Texas Windstorm Insurance Association
  • USAA - United Services Automobile Association

For more information contact:

Last updated: 10/21/2015

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