Insurance Law – New For September 1, 2019

Here are some new laws enacted in the State of Texas that went into effect on September 1, 2019.  There were several transparency and consumer protection bills that were passed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.  The most significant bills were related to flood, wind, and hail, although significant legislation related to adjusters was also passed.

Senate Bill (SB) 442 requires any insurance company that issues residential property insurance policies without coverage against flood loss to provide written notice to the insured.  This bill gives the Texas Insurance Commissioner rule making authority to issue the form and content of the notice.

House Bill (HB) 1306 provides for additional flood coverage access under insurance policies issued by surplus lines insurance companies.  Surplus lines coverage is only to be used if the full amount of coverage cannot be obtained in the Texas market.

The Texas 86th Legislature also passed several consumer protection bills related to contracting and adjusting practices.  HB 2102 creates a criminal offense for any roofer that offers to pay insurance deductibles related to property insurance policies.  HB 2103 expands the roofing contractor prohibition from acting as a public adjuster for any property the contractor is servicing to include all contractors.  HB 2659 prohibits a public insurance adjuster from using a name other than the one under the license, except for valid assumed name certificates under Texas Business & Commerce Code, Chapter 71.

Other significant insurance legislation includes the Legislature doing away with named driver policies.  HB 259 prohibits an insurance company writing automobile insurance policies in Texas from delivering, issuing for delivery, or renewing a named driver policy unless the named driver policy is an operator’s policy.

HB 2587 created a uniform framework for travel insurance by standardizing protections and encouraging fair competition among market participants.  This legislation links the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act if there is no recourse for recovery for the policyholder.

SB 590 expands on current law requiring insurers to clearly describe material changes to personal and casualty policies to apply to commercial and liability policies as well.