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AARP: Insurers should be required to justify rate increases

AUSTIN , TX -- Insurance companies in Texas should be required to justify any proposed homeowners insurance rate increases before passing them along to their customers, AARP Texas said today in a news conference at the Capitol.

AARP Texas supports legislation filed by Representative Rafael Anchia (HB 1594) and Senators Leticia Van de Putte (SB 91), Rodney Ellis (SB 106), and Juan Hinojosa (SB 264), that would create a “prior approval” system for rate changes.  The legislation would require the Texas insurance commissioner to review and approve rates before they go into effect, replacing the current system where insurance companies can impose rate increases on customers without prior approval.  This would give the insurance department the power to protect consumers from steep rate increases.

"We can’t allow insurance companies to run the show in our state while paying the highest homeowners insurance rates in the nation,” said Tim Morstad, AARP Texas Associate State Director for Advocacy.  “It’s been six years since the so-called insurance ‘reforms’ were put in place and it is quite evident that they haven’t worked as promised.”

Homeowners insurance premiums in Texas average around $1,400 per year, nearly twice the national average.  A poll of likely voters released last month by the consumer organization Texas Watch indicated strong support for real insurance reform. Their findings suggested that Texans are very dissatisfied with the state of the current insurance market. AARP has pledged to work with legislators and consumer organizations to help bring down high homeowners insurance rates in the state.

“Texans want lower insurance rates and the Texas Legislature has the power to help deliver it for them,” Morstad said.

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