Tribpedia: Texas Department Of Insurance

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 ...

High Court Ruling Protects Insurers from Lawsuits

Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 when a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns across 90 percent of his body. Johnson struggled to get compensation for his on-the-job injuries.
Glenn Johnson, 55, was injured in a smelting accident near Amarillo in 1997 when a furnace filled with molten metal exploded, crushed him and left major burns across 90 percent of his body. Johnson struggled to get compensation for his on-the-job injuries.

In a major victory for insurance companies, the Texas Supreme Court said Friday that injured workers can't sue for damages in workers' compensation claims even when the insurer intentionally misrepresents their policies, or uses the criminal justice system to punish them.

A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.
A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.

Some Lawmakers Want Changes to Avoid Fertilizer Blasts

A committee of Texas lawmakers met Tuesday to discuss possible legislation aimed at preventing another disaster like last year’s explosion in West, Texas — with some Republicans still skeptical of imposing regulations on fertilizer storage facilities.

 

Texas Worker Safety Hotline Falters

State authorities are supposed to maintain a bilingual, 24-hour hotline for workers to report safety violations. Officials acknoweldged Friday that the h0tline has been inoperative after hours. They couldn't say how long it's been going on but vowed to fix the problem.

Lindsay Berlanga, center, site manager for Cognazante, helps Melissa Villareal, right, and her mother, Hortensia Villareal, rear, with registration for the Affordable Care Act during assistance hours at Bibliotech, the new digital public library in San Antonio, Friday, January 17, 2014.
Lindsay Berlanga, center, site manager for Cognazante, helps Melissa Villareal, right, and her mother, Hortensia Villareal, rear, with registration for the Affordable Care Act during assistance hours at Bibliotech, the new digital public library in San Antonio, Friday, January 17, 2014.

Local Governments Pursue Obamacare Enrollment

Government officials and community-based organizations are working together to incorporate new rules, maximize their resources and educate uninsured Texans on how to take advantage of President Obama's signature health law. 

The Workers Defense Project and Iron Workers Union organized a demonstration Nov. 23, 2013.
The Workers Defense Project and Iron Workers Union organized a demonstration Nov. 23, 2013.

Injured Worker's Ex-Employer Denies Retaliation

UPDATED: A 19-year-old Honduran injured on the job is at the center of a workplace safety controversy. The Workers Defense Project says he was fired for speaking to investigators. His former employer says the firing was unrelated.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst explains the gallery rules for the second special session as Senate Parliamentarian Karina Davis listens on July 1, 2013.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst explains the gallery rules for the second special session as Senate Parliamentarian Karina Davis listens on July 1, 2013.

Dewhurst Wants Closure of High-Risk Insurance Pool Postponed

Amid continuing technical issues with the online, federal health care marketplace, created by the Affordable Care Act, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has called on state officials to postpone closure of the state's high-risk insurance pool, offering the full services of his office to make that happen. 

Gov. Rick Perry attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the CRIT Texas Teletón USA children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio on Aug. 6, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry attends a groundbreaking ceremony for the CRIT Texas Teletón USA children's rehabilitation center in San Antonio on Aug. 6, 2013.

Watson Responds to Perry's Move to Regulate Insurance Navigators

In a letter Thursday, state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, says Gov. Rick Perry's move to establish strict rules for so-called health insurance navigators defies the intent of a law legislators passed this year.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met in Austin with leaders from the health care industry to discuss the Affordable Care Act on Aug. 8, 2013.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met in Austin with leaders from the health care industry to discuss the Affordable Care Act on Aug. 8, 2013.

Feds Award $10.8 Million to Help Texans Find Coverage

With the rollout of many Affordable Care Act provisions fast approaching, the federal government announced Thursday that eight Texas organizations will receive a combined $10.8 million to hire and train “navigators” to help uninsured Texans find health coverage.

 

Zoila Chaver, second from right, a member of the Texas Organizing Project, giving health care information to Dallas resident Graciela Garcia at Garcia's home on July 10, 2013.
Zoila Chaver, second from right, a member of the Texas Organizing Project, giving health care information to Dallas resident Graciela Garcia at Garcia's home on July 10, 2013.

Groups Work to Promote Health Insurance Exchange

With state officials declining to implement key components of the federal Affordable Care Act, many private organizations are working to educate Texans about coverage options through the federal health insurance exchange, which opens on Oct. 1.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has raised concerns about handling of insurance claims related to Hurricane Ike.
Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has raised concerns about handling of insurance claims related to Hurricane Ike.

Legislator Wants to Reopen State Farm Investigation

Following a report of a criminal investigation of State Farm over its handling of tens of thousands of insurance claims after Hurricane Ike, a Texas legislator wants the Texas Department of Insurance to reopen its investigation.

A For Sale sign in front of a burned-down house on Sept. 13, 2011, after the wildfires in Bastrop County.
A For Sale sign in front of a burned-down house on Sept. 13, 2011, after the wildfires in Bastrop County.

$271 Million Paid Out in Bastrop Fire Claims

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, shown in the capitol office of state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas.
Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman, shown in the capitol office of state Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas.

Insurance Commissioner Answers Industry Bias Charges

Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman hasn't been a stranger to controversy. Some have expressed concern that she is biased toward protecting insurance companies. But Kitzman, who has 20 years of experience in the insurance industry, said her past enables her to take a practical stance on how Texas regulates insurance.

Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman gives testimony to the Senate Committee on State Affairs on August 30th, 2012
Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman gives testimony to the Senate Committee on State Affairs on August 30th, 2012

Senate State Affairs Committee Questions Kitzman

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. One lawmaker, state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, followed up with a letter to Gov. Rick Perry asking for Kitzman's removal. 

Texas Sen. Bob Deuell and Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner, Eleanor Kitzman
Texas Sen. Bob Deuell and Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner, Eleanor Kitzman

Deuell to Kitzman: Reconsider Consumer Rules

A decision to table new rules intended to protect consumers has landed state Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman in hot water with the chair of the Senate Nominations Committee, which will play a key role in the decision to confirm her appointment in the upcoming legislative session.