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Texas Department of Insurance
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TDI's Role in a Disaster


The Texas Department of Insurance will do everything possible during a disaster, within the scope of its authority, to assure that policyholders receive prompt, fair, and responsive service from their insurance companies. This includes assisting storm victims in locating their companies and offering consumer counseling to those who need help filing claims and understanding their rights and insurance coverages.

Texas State Disaster Coalition

TDI, Texas Division of Emergency Management, and the Institute for Business & Home Safety, 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 began meeting in June 2001 and has met quarterly since then. (Read notes from the most recent meeting.)

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.

TSDC Member Organizations 

American Insurance Association | Allstate Insurance Companies | American Red Cross of Central Texas | Farmers Insurance Companies | Federal Emergency Management Agency - Region VI | Firemen's Fund Insurance Company | Germania Insurance Company | Texas Division of Emergency Management | HealthMarkets, Inc. | Insurance Council of Texas | Independent Insurance Agents of Texas | Kemper Insurance Companies | Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies | National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies | Nationwide Insurance Companies | National Insurance Crime Bureau | Office of Emergency Management - City of Austin | Office of Public Insurance Counsel | Progressive | Property Casualty Insurers Association of America | Safeco | 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 | United Services Automobile Association

Catastrophe Plan 

Following a disaster in Texas, TDEM coordinates the state’s disaster response and recovery efforts. When TDEM activates the state Emergency Operations Council, 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.

Communication During a Disaster 

Upon TDI’s activation by TDEM due to a State Emergency Disaster situation, TDI may request that representatives from the largest Texas underwriters and other TSDC members be available for daily conference calls.

Disaster Plans 

TDI will request that insurers certify that they have a disaster response plan for Texas every four years. The next request will be made in 2018. 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 website projections about potential damage gleaned from predictive models or information compiled from county by county damage assessment documents.

In Texas, local emergency management officials will determine when people 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.
  • During a disaster, TDI will post the location of the emergency operations centers 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.

Emergency Adjusters 

An emergency adjuster license may be issued to an individual to adjust losses as a result of a catastrophe or emergency. The sponsoring licensed adjuster or insurance company must provide specific details of the catastrophe requiring the issuance of an Emergency Adjuster License. The details must include the date, location, type of catastrophe, and a copy of official notice or other similar third party notices of the catastrophe or emergency. An Emergency Adjuster must be sponsored by either a licensed adjuster or a licensed and approved insurance company.

The mailing address of the Emergency Adjuster sponsor must be provided. Emergency Adjuster licenses are issued for 90 days. Emergency Adjuster applicants aren't required to provide fingerprints.

The application to get an emergency adjuster’s license can be downloaded from TDI’s Emergency Adjuster page. 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 emergency license.

Questions? Call us at 800-252-3439.

Last updated: 2/8/2024