By Commissioner's Order No. 06-0977, the Commissioner of Insurance has adopted amendments to 28 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), §5.501, concerning the procedures an insurer is required to follow in order to provide the proper notice to claimants regarding their motor vehicle repair rights as required by the Insurance Code §§1952.301-1952.307.
Under §5.501(b), an insurer is required to provide the prescribed written notice to any insured or third-party claimant who makes a claim regarding damage to a vehicle.
The amended §5.501 distinguishes the responsibilities of the Texas Department of Insurance (Department) from the responsibilities of insurers by adding new language that clarifies the Department's and insurers' responsibilities. The amendments also require special formatting in the notice to further distinguish the different responsibilities.
The revised written notice incorporates new language clarifying that the Department is responsible for providing information about the Insurance Code §§1952.301-1952.307 and incorporates new language explaining that insurers are responsible for providing detailed information about the nature of coverage under a particular policy.
The revised notice requires insurers to add their contact information. The amended §5.501(h) requires that the insurer's name, mailing address, phone number, and fax number be provided in bold type. The amendment also provides that insurers may opt to include their e-mail or website address contact information in the notice. If an insurer chooses to provide an e-mail or website address, it is required to be provided in bold type.
In an effort to better serve the increasing number of Spanish-speaking consumers, the amended §5.501(h) requires that the written notice also be provided in Spanish. A Spanish translation of the English version is added to the front page of the revised one-page notice.
There is no requirement that the Insurance Code §§1952.301-1952.307 or possible introductory remarks supplementary to the written notice be translated into Spanish. However, an insurer may provide a translation to consumers who may benefit from having this information provided in Spanish. In such case, a copy of the English version of the statutes is required to be provided as well.
If an insurer has preprinted inventories of the old notice inseparable from the copy of the Insurance Code §§1952.301-1952.307, the insurer may attach the amended notice on top of the old notice, with a clear explanation as to which notice is in force, until the existing inventories are exhausted.
The amendments were effective April 1, 2007 , and the revised notice must be used as of that date.
The revised notice is available online at http://info.sos.state.tx.us/fids/200605250-1.html.
The adoption order for the amended 28 TAC §5.501 rule is available online at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/rules/2006/0922-059.html.
For further information or questions concerning this bulletin, please contact Valerie Brown, Consumer Protection Division, at P.O. Box 149091 , Austin , TX 78714-9091 ; 512-463-6503; 512-475-1771 (fax); or ConsumerProtection@tdi.state.tx.us.
Senior Associate Commissioner
Consumer Protection Division