UPDATED: Gov. Rick Perry appointed Julia Rathgeber to be the state's commissioner of insurance, replacing Eleanor Kitzman, who couldn't win Senate confirmation this session. Rathgeber is deputy chief of staff to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.Full Story
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) regulates the insurance industry in a state that has some of the highest premiums -- and lowest levels of coverage -- in the country.
The agency faced sweeping reforms in 2003, following a crisis in homeowners insurance because of an epidemic of mold damage claims. Those reforms included bringing all insurance companies under rate regulation, and ...
Legislators, coastal residents and insurance leaders agree it will take a dynamic approach to reform the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. The Senate Business and Commerce Committee discussed four TWIA bills Tuesday.Full Story
The board of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association voted on Monday to table a proposal by Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman that would essentially declare the agency bankrupt.Full Story
UPDATED: Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman replied to a letter from a Texas legislator urging her to reopen an investigation of State Farm over its handling of homeowners' claims after Hurricane Ike, saying the department will continue to monitor the company.Full Story
The top 10 homeowners insurers in Texas paid out more than $270 million in claims related to last year's Bastrop wildfires, according to a new report. But that is still much less than some other catastrophes, like Dallas' April hailstorms, which led to $2 billion in insurance losses.
Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman has been the subject of concerns raised by lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups. But she deflects the criticism, saying her focus is only on how to best serve Texas consumers.Full Story
State senators on Thursday took advantage of a committee hearing on cross-state health coverage to question Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman on her controversial decision to delay previously-approved consumer protections.Full Story
A decision to table new rules intended to protect consumers has landed state Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman in hot water with the chairman of the Senate Nominations Committee, which will play a key role in the decision to confirm her appointment.Full Story
In its latest rejection of federal dollars, Texas will not reapply for a grant to keep operating a program that helps consumers enroll in health coverage and file complaints and appeals against health plans.Full Story
Texas has scored a 68 out of 100, placing 27th in a national state integrity study. The state got high marks for auditing and for monitoring pension funds, but not as high for accountability of the governor and legislators.Full Story
A program created to help insurance-seekers in Texas cut through the complexities of federal health care reforms is shutting down in April, years before the law goes into full effect.Full Story
The federal government has rejected Texas' request to delay implementation of a health reform rule that could force some insurers to give premium refunds to customers.Full Story
House lawmakers voted Tuesday night to continue the duties and operations of the Texas Department of Insurance, giving early approval to the agency’s Sunset bill.Full Story
State auditors found muddled chains of command, missing files and a massive backlog of cases when they dug into the enforcement process at the Division of Workers' Compensation, according to a report released Thursday. The findings support the claims of former employees who exited the division this year amid complaints of stalled action on dozens of cases against workers' comp physicians accused of abusing the system.Full Story
Sunset Advisory Commissioners unanimously approved a series of changes to the troubled Division of Workers' Compensation at the Texas Department of Insurance on Tuesday, but not before aggressively rewriting the Sunset staff's original recommendations to improve the division's medical quality review process.Full Story
Physician fraud investigators inside the troubled Division of Workers' Compensation say state examiners failed to uncover serious problems there — and then recommended changes that would take key decisions away from trained physicians and give them to bureaucrats.Full Story
Thevenot on the ideological backbiting at the internationally famous State Board of Education; Stiles, Narioka and Hamilton plumb employee salary data in Texas colleges and universities; Grissom looks at the problem of insufficient indigent defense; Cervantes on the push for "veterans courts" emphasizing treatment and counseling over punishment; Aguilar finds border congressmen asking the governor for a fair break on federal homeland security dollars; M. Smith on another BP rig in the Gulf; Ramshaw reports on nurse practitioners trying to get permission slips from doctors; Hu follows up with lawmakers poking at whistleblower allegations of trouble in the state's workers' compensation regulation; Hamilton stops in on Luke Hayes and his efforts to turn Texas into a political powerhouse for Obama; and Ramsey writes on generation changes at the Capitol and on political pranksters: The best of our best from May 17 to 21, 2010.Full Story
Lawmakers are pledging to take a closer look at the Texas Department of Insurance’s Division of Workers' Compensation in light of allegations by former employees that their higher-ups failed to sanction or remove dozens of doctors accused of overmedicating patients and overbilling insurers. The chairman of the House panel that oversees workers' compensation says he's planning a hearing on the matter this summer, and the chair of the Sunset Advisory Commission plans to question the division's commissioner at a public hearing next week.Full Story
Grissom on the transgender marriage conundrum, Hu on the workers' comp whistleblowers, M. Smith on the Texas GOP's brush with debt, Garcia-Ditta on why student regents should vote, Aguilar on the tripling of the number of visas given by the feds to undocumented crime victims, Hamilton on the paltry number of state universities with graduation rates above 50 percent, Ramshaw and Stiles on the high percentage of Texas doctors trained in another country, Ramsey and Stiles on congressmen giving to congressmen, Galbraith on how prepared Texas is (very) for a BP-like oil spill, and my conversation with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst: The best of our best from May 10 to 14, 2010.Full Story
Former employees of the Division of Workers' Compensation at the Texas Department of Insurance say their higher-ups have failed to sanction or remove dozens of physicians accused of fraudently overbilling and overtreating patients, costing insurers millions of dollars. The allegations of stalled enforcement action have sparked an inquiry by the State Auditor’s Office, records show.Full Story