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You are here: Home . rules . 2007 . 1029-059

SUBCHAPTER E. Notice of Toll-Free Telephone Numbers and Procedures for Obtaining Information and Filing Complaints 28 TAC §1.602. Notice of Internet Website

1. INTRODUCTION. The Texas Department of Insurance proposes new §1.602, concerning a notice to be given by insurers to consumers regarding an Internet website. The notice concerns the location of an Internet website providing information to consumers relating to the purchase of residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance. This new section is necessary to implement the provisions of SB 611, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, effective May 21, 2007, which adds Subchapter D to Chapter 32 of the Insurance Code. Subchaper D requires the Department and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel to establish and maintain a single website that provides information to enable consumers to make informed decisions relating to the purchase of residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance.

Section 32.104(b) requires specified insurers to provide notice of the Internet website required by Subchapter D in a conspicuous manner with each residential property insurance or personal automobile insurance policy issued or renewed in this state. Section 32.104(b) applies only to insurers who comprise the top 25 insurance groups in the national market and who issue residential property insurance or personal automobile insurance policies in this state, including a Lloyd's plan, a reciprocal or interinsurance exchange, a county mutual insurance company, a farm mutual insurance company, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, the FAIR Plan Association, and the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association. Section 32.104(b) applies to policies that are delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after January 1, 2008.

Section 32.104(b) also requires the Commissioner of Insurance to determine the form and content of the notice. The proposed new section establishes the form and content of this notice. The proposed new section requires insurers to provide the required notice in one of two specified ways and also allows insurers to opt to provide the required notice both ways.

Notwithstanding the requirements in §1.601(a)(3) of this title (relating to Notice of Toll-Free Telephone Numbers and Information and Complaint Procedures) to the contrary, an insurer shall include the following text (in English or Spanish as appropriate) between item 6 and item 7 in the notice required under §1.601(a)(3): "To obtain price and policy form comparisons and other information relating to residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance, you may visit the Texas Department of Insurance/Office of Public Insurance Counsel website: www.helpinsure.com" in the English portion and "Para obtener formas de comparación de precios y póliza y otra información acerca del seguro de propiedad residencial y del seguro de automóvil, visite el sitio web del Departamento de Seguros de Texas y la Oficina del Asesor Público de Seguros: www.helpinsure.com" in the Spanish portion. The text must be in at least 10-point type. The website address "www.helpinsure.com" must be in boldface type and must be preceded by one blank line. If an insurer elects to comply with the proposed new section by amending the notice required under §1.601 to include the requirements of this proposed new section, the insurer need provide only the one notice to comply with both §1.601 and proposed new §1.602.

Alternatively, the insurer shall provide the following notice to comply with proposed §1.602. The notice must be provided in a conspicuous manner with each policy:

INSURANCE WEBSITE NOTICE

To obtain price and policy form comparisons and other information relating to residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance, you may visit the Texas Department of Insurance/Office of Public Insurance Counsel website: www.helpinsure.com.

ANUNCIO DEL SITIO WEB DE SEGUROS

Para obtener formas de comparación de precios y póliza y otra información acerca del seguro de propiedad residencial y del seguro de automóvil, visite el sitio web del Departamento de Seguros de Texas y la Oficina del Asesor Público de Seguros: www.helpinsure.com.

The notice must be printed in at least 10-point type and must be preceded and followed by at least one blank line. "Insurance Website Notice" and "Anuncio Del Sitio Web De Seguros" must be in all capital letters and boldface type and "www.helpinsure.com" must be in boldface type.

The Department proposes that the notice requirements mandated by the new section apply to all policies that are delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2008.

2. FISCAL NOTE. Audrey Selden, Senior Associate Commissioner for Consumer Protection, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed section is in effect, there will be no fiscal impact to state and local governments as a result of the enforcement or administration of the proposal. There will be no measurable effect on local employment or the local economy as a result of the proposal.

3. PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Selden also has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed section is in effect, the public benefits anticipated as a result of the proposal are increased consumer education and increased awareness of information that will enable consumers to make informed decisions relating to the purchase of residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance.

The costs to insurers required to comply with the proposal are negligible because of the compliance options and flexibility provided under the proposed rule. For insurers electing to comply with the proposed rule by amending the notice required under §1.601, the cost to print the notice should not increase. The current notice required by §1.601 must be provided on a single page. The revised notice adds nine lines. The notice can still be provided on a single page; thus, insurers should not incur any additional material costs as a result of compliance with the proposal. Insurers electing not to amend the notice required by §1.601 or insurers waiting to exhaust their existing stock of the notice required under §1.601 have the flexibility to provide the proposed notice in the manner preferable and most cost-effective to them, as long as it is conspicuous. These insurers can incorporate the proposed notice into their policies, notices, and other communications. Hence, insurers should not experience any material economic impact. Any costs incurred are a result of the legislation and not the proposed rule.

An insurer that opts to print the proposed notice on a separate piece of paper and/or mail the notice separately from other mailings will incur additional cost, which can be calculated by the insurer based on the individual insurer's printing and mailing costs and the number of notices to be printed and mailed. Insurers can also calculate their particular costs using the Department's cost analysis approach. The estimates used in the Department's analysis assume that a printed page costs $0.05 and postage for one page of paper is $0.41. Insurers that choose to print the notice on a separate piece of paper from the notice required by §1.601 and/or mail the notice separately from other mailings will incur an estimated cost of $0.46 per transaction. Any costs incurred are a result of the legislation and not the proposed rule.

4. ECONOMIC IMPACT STATEMENT AND REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY ANALYSIS FOR SMALL AND MICRO BUSINESSES.

As required by the Government Code §2006.002(c), the Department has determined that the proposal will not have an adverse economic effect on small or micro businesses because the proposed rule does not apply to any small or micro businesses. The proposed section applies only to insurers comprising the top 25 insurance groups in the national market.

5. TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT. The Department has determined that no private real property interests are affected by this proposal and that this proposal does not restrict or limit an owner's right to property that would otherwise exist in the absence of government action and, therefore, does not constitute a taking or require a takings impact assessment under the Government Code §2007.043.

6. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. To be considered, written comments on the proposal must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on December 10, 2007, to Gene C. Jarmon, General Counsel and Chief Clerk, Mail Code 113-2A, Texas Department of Insurance, P. O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. An additional copy of the comment must be simultaneously submitted to David Durden, Associate Commissioner, Public Affairs, Mail Code 113-3C, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

The Commissioner will consider the adoption of the proposed section in a public hearing under Docket No. 2676 scheduled for December 6, 2007, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 100 of the William P. Hobby, Jr. State Office Building, 333 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas. Written and oral comments presented at the hearing will be considered.

7. STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The new section is proposed pursuant to Insurance Code §32.104(b) and §36.001. Section 32.104(b) requires the Commissioner of Insurance to determine the form and content of the notice of the Internet website, which insurers are required to provide pursuant to §32.104(b) of the Insurance Code. Section 36.001 provides that the Commissioner of Insurance may adopt any rules necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and duties of the Department under the Insurance Code and other laws of this state.

8. CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The following statute is affected by this proposal:

Rule Statute

§1.602 Insurance Code §32.104(b)

9. TEXT.

§1.602. Notice of Internet Website.

(a) Purpose and Applicability.

(1) The purpose of this section is to establish the form and content of the notice required under Insurance Code §32.104(b).

(2) This section applies to insurers who comprise the top 25 insurance groups in the national market and who issue residential property insurance or personal automobile insurance policies in this state, including a Lloyd's plan, a reciprocal or interinsurance exchange, a county mutual insurance company, a farm mutual insurance company, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, the FAIR Plan Association, and the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association.

(3) This section applies to all residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance policies that are delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after January 1, 2008.

(b) Notice Requirements. Each insurer specified in subsection (a)(2) of this section must comply with either subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2) of this section, or may opt to comply with both:

(1) Notwithstanding the requirements in §1.601(a)(3) of this subchapter (relating to Notice of Toll-Free Telephone Numbers and Information and Complaint Procedures) to the contrary, the insurer must include the following text between item 6 and item 7 in the notice required under §1.601(a)(3) with each policy specified in subsection (a)(3) of this section. The text must be in at least 10-point type. The website address "www.helpinsure.com" must be in boldface type and must be preceded by one blank line.

(A) "To obtain price and policy form comparisons and other information relating to residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance, you may visit the Texas Department of Insurance/Office of Public Insurance Counsel website: www.helpinsure.com" in the English portion; and

(B) "Para obtener formas de comparación de precios y póliza y otra información acerca del seguro de propiedad residencial y del seguro de automóvil, visite el sitio web del Departamento de Seguros de Texas y la Oficina del Asesor Público de Seguros: www.helpinsure.com" in the Spanish portion.

FIGURE: 28 TAC §1.602(b)(1)(B):

1 IMPORTANT NOTICE

AVISO IMPORTANTE

To obtain information or make a complaint:

Para obtener informacion o para someter una queja:

2 You may contact your (title) at (telephone number).

Puede comunicarse con su (title) al (telephone number).

3 You may call (company)'s toll-free telephone number for information or to make a complaint at:

Usted puede llamar al numero de telefono gratis de (company)'s para informacion o para someter una queja al:

1-XXX-XXX-XXXX

1-XXX-XXX-XXXX

4 You may also write to (company) at:

Usted tambien puede escribir a (company):

5 You may contact the Texas Department of Insurance to obtain information on companies, coverages, rights or complaints at:

Puede comunicarse con el Departamento de Seguros de Texas para obtener informacion acerca de companias, coberturas, derechos o quejas al:

1-800-252-3439

1-800-252-3439

6 You may write the Texas Department of Insurance:

P. O. Box 149104

Austin, TX 78714-9104

Fax: (512) 475-1771

Web: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us

E-mail: ConsumerProtection@tdi.state.tx.us

To obtain price and policy form comparisons and other information relating to residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance, you may visit the Texas Department of Insurance/Office of Public Insurance Counsel website:

www.helpinsure.com

Puede escribir al Departamento de Seguros de Texas:

P. O. Box 149104

Austin, TX 78714-9104

Fax: (512) 475-1771

Web: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us

E-mail: ConsumerProtection@tdi.state.tx.us

Para obtener formas de comparacion de precios y poliza y otra informacion acerca del seguro de propiedad residencial y del seguro de automóvil, visite el sitio web del Departamento de Seguros de Texas y la Oficina del Asesor Publico de Seguros:

www.helpinsure.com

7 PREMIUM OR CLAIM DISPUTES:

Should you have a dispute concerning your premium or about a claim you should contact the (agent) (company) (agent or the company) first. If the dispute is not resolved, you may contact the Texas Department of Insurance.

DISPUTAS SOBRE PRIMAS O RECLAMOS: Si tiene una disputa concerniente a su prima o a un reclamo, debe comunicarse con el (agente) (la compania) (agente o la compania) primero. Si no se resuelve la disputa, puede entonces comunicarse con el departamento (TDI).

8 ATTACH THIS NOTICE TO YOUR POLICY: This notice is for information only and does not become a part or condition of the attached document.

UNA ESTE AVISO A SU POLIZA: Este aviso es solo para proposito de informacion y no se convierte en parte o condicion del documento adjunto.

(2) The insurer must provide the following notice in a conspicuous manner with each policy specified in subsection (a)(3) of this section. The notice must be printed in at least 10-point type and must be preceded and followed by at least one blank line. "Insurance Website Notice" and "Anuncio Del Sitio Web De Seguros" must be in all capital letters and boldface type and "www.helpinsure.com" must be in boldface type.

FIGURE: 28 TAC §1.602(b)(2):

Insurance Website Notice

To obtain price and policy form comparisons and other information relating to residential property insurance and personal automobile insurance, you may visit the Texas Department of Insurance/Office of Public Insurance Counsel website: www.helpinsure.com.

ANUNCIO DEL SITIO WEB DE SEGUROS

Para obtener formas de comparación de precios y póliza y otra información acerca del seguro de propiedad residencial y del seguro de automóvil, visite el sitio web del Departamento de Seguros de Texas y la Oficina del Asesor Público de Seguros: www.helpinsure.com.



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